Safe standing: Shrewsbury Town reach crowdfunding target
League One side Shrewsbury Town hope to have safe standing in place before the end of the season after reaching their crowdfunding target.
The club has raised more than £65,000 and would be the first in the English Football League to have safe standing.
Chief executive Brian Caldwell believes Shrewsbury will be the "flagship club" in tackling the issue.
"Safe standing has been something fans have campaigned to see introduced for many years," Caldwell said.
"We will now continue to work closely with our local Safety Advisory Group to gain the necessary certification for the safe standing area and hope to have supporters watching home games from the safe standing area before the end of the season.
"As one of the few clubs with an all-seater ground able to introduce a rail seating section, Shrewsbury Town will now lead the way in making the case for a change in policy and adding a standing option to the match-day experience for all clubs and fans."
Shrewsbury applied to have safe standing at their Montgomery Waters Meadow stadium in June, with rail seats fitted in one section of the Salop Leisure Stand by the end of the 2017-18 season.
The ground is 10 years old so is not governed by the all-seater stadiums legislation that permits clubs in Leagues One and Two to keep terraces that existed before 1994.
Shrewsbury Town Supporters' Parliament led the campaign to install about 400 rail seats in partnership with the club and sports fanfunding specialists Tifosy and had contributions from almost 1,000 fanfunders.
Roger Groves of the Shrewsbury Town Supporters' Parliament said: "This is a remarkable achievement by the hundreds of fans and sponsors, especially FansBet, who have paved the way for the thousands more to bring standing back to match days at their clubs.
"I am very proud that Shrewsbury Town has been at the heart of this."
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said: "I am pleased that Shrewsbury Town has successfully sourced the necessary funding to support the proposed installation of rail seating.
"I know the campaign has benefitted from a strong community effort and I congratulate the club's supporters, as well as those from other clubs that have contributed.
"The EFL is committed to seeking a change in the law that will give all of our clubs the same opportunity to install standing accommodation at their grounds should they wish.
"We are keen to see how the installation enhances the match-day experience at Shrewsbury Town and we hope it provides evidence we can take to government to support our objective."