Premier League clubs want more evidence on safe standing

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Celtic's safe standing: how does it work?

More evidence is needed before safe standing can be allowed at top-flight stadiums, the Premier League has said.

Earlier this month, sports minister Tracey Crouch rejected West Brom's request to trial safe standing.

The legislation forbidding it was introduced following the Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

"This subject is complex and nuanced and clearly requires more research," said the Premier League, whose clubs discussed it at a meeting last week.

BBC Sport understands that fans numbering in the low thousands have been asked for their views over the past 16 months by polling company Populus, on behalf of the Premier League.

The statement added: "The results so far suggest a majority of fans like the idea of standing areas in principle but only 5% want to stand for an entire match.

"Additionally, the majority want the option of being able to stand and sit.

"Taking this into account, we understand and appreciate why the Minister for Sport would require far more evidence before considering a change to the current all-seater policy."

On Monday, English Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said he would "robustly" ask the government to change its stance because of "significant popular demand".

Crouch's decision has been criticised heavily by both fans and safety experts, with an online petition to force the government to debate the issue having amassed more than 56,000 signatures.

West Brom's pilot scheme would have meant 3,600 seats in the Smethwick End were converted to 'rail seats', which can be locked in an upright position.

The Baggies - who are bottom of the Premier League - hoped to install them in time for next season.

Scottish Premiership leaders Celtic introduced safe standing in the summer of 2016.

Manager Brendan Rodgers endorsed the move, saying it helped to create a "better ambience", but admitted "it may not be for every club".

The All Party Parliamentary Group for Football is set to discuss the issue on 1 May.


BBC sports news correspondent Richard Conway

I'm told this is not a final, definitive view from the Premier League clubs - rather a case of "more work to do".

But they now think it is more complex than originally believed and they want a research and evidence-based approach.

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Richard Conway explains Shrewsbury Town's plans for safe standing

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