• Premier League

United support idea of safe standing

ESPN staff
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Manchester United were previously thought to be against safe standing at Old Trafford due to the stadium's infrastructure © PA Photos
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Manchester United have given their backing to the idea of introducing safe standing areas to English football stadiums.

On Tuesday, Aston Villa claimed "seven or eight clubs" in the Premier League are interested in reintroducing safe standing for fans at their stadiums and supported the Football Supporters' Federation's campaign for rail seating - what has proved so successful in the Bundesliga - to be introduced into English stadiums.

United executive vice-chairman Ed Woodward was asked about the issue during a fans' forum on February 7, to which he indicated the club supported the notion of introducing a safe standing area at Old Trafford.

Earlier in the season, at a separate fans' forum, Woodward stated he would explore the idea of safe standing, including its viability. Previously, United were thought to be against the introduction of a safe standing section at Old Trafford as the stadium's infrastructure would not complement its possibility.

However, according to the Daily Mail, the club is now prepared to consider the possibility of a trial basis, should the proposal be sanctioned, with a senior source from club fanzine Red News telling Sportsmail: "Ed Woodward confirmed that the club now supports the principle of safe standing, and will argue for it at pertinent meetings.

"They are still looking into the costs of running a trial at Old Trafford, assuming the authorities permitted it."

Standing is allowed in League One and League Two, but not in the Premier League or at Championship grounds where clubs have played in the second tier for at least three seasons.

At the suggestion of the Taylor report following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, all-seater stadiums have been required in the Premier League and Championship since the beginning of the 1994-95 season.

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