Safe-standing petition: 100,000 people sign, triggering possible MPs' debate

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A petition asking for Premier League and Championship clubs to be allowed to have safe-standing at their stadiums has been signed by 100,000 people.

It means the petition will now be considered for debate by MPs in the House of Commons.

The UK government said earlier this month there were no plans to change the all-seater policy after West Brom had a safe-standing proposal rejected.

Standing is not allowed in English football's top two divisions.

It was outlawed in the Football Spectators' Act, which was brought in following recommendations made in the Taylor Report after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.

After the petition reached the 100,000 mark, the Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) said in a statement: "We would like to thank every last fan who signed the petition and helped take standing to Parliament - the sheer number of fans involved shows the strength of feeling on an issue that isn't going away.

"This is not just a 'vocal minority' as the sports minister presumed - the overwhelming majority of fans back the choice to sit or stand, as do most clubs and a growing number of MPs who will look forward to the debate."

Sports Minister Tracey Crouch said she was "grateful" for fans "expressing their views on this issue".

"This will now give me the opportunity to discuss at length the nuances and complexities of sports ground safety in Parliament, if and when the Petitions Committee agree to it being debated," she added.

Safe standing gains momentum

Premier League club West Brom had hoped to bring rail seating into an area of The Hawthorns, but their proposal was rejected by the government.

The FSF responded by saying sports minister Tracey Crouch is "declaring war on fans" by turning a blind eye to safe standing.

But the Premier League asked for more evidence before it could be allowed at top-flight stadiums.

Arsenal manager Arsene Wenger has given his "100% backing" to the proposals, as he believes standing improves the atmosphere at grounds.

Premier League side Crystal Palace then asked supporters to sign the petition and, on Wednesday, Championship winners Wolves expressed an "interest" in Molineux being utilised as part of a pilot scheme.

On the same day, League One promotion chasers Shrewsbury received delivery of new safe-standing rail seats which they plan to install at their stadium this summer.

Campaigners have cited the examples of West Brom and Shrewsbury as being "completely bonkers".

Jon Darch, of campaign group Safe Standing Roadshow, told BBC Sport: "We could have a situation where Shrewsbury and West Brom are in the same league - but one has been given permission for rail seating and the other has not."

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