United to apply for safe-standing trial

Friday 24 September 2021 17:00

Manchester United confirmed at Friday's Fans' Forum meeting that we will apply to the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) to be part of the national safe-standing trials in 2022.

This follows the announcement from the Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston, who outlined that the Government is taking the first steps to create licensed standing areas at Premier League and Championship clubs from 1 January.

One of the conditions of this trial will be that there are designated safe-standing areas in both the home and away sections of the stadium. To ensure that the club is ready to be considered as an ‘early adopter’, planning is under way to install around 500 barrier seats in the away section at Old Trafford in November.

This leads on from the installation of 1,519 barrier seats in the home section of the North East quadrant during the summer - another initiative which emerged from the work of the Fans' Forum.

Barriers have already been installed at Old Trafford, as the club prepare to trial safe standing in 2022.

Subject to the club being selected, United are also committed to reviewing other areas that may be suitable for barrier seats including the Stretford End lower/South West quadrant.

Addressing the Fans’ Forum, Collette Roche, chief operating officer, said: "In the summer, just over 1,500 barrier seats were installed and the Government have now announced that they are looking to run safe-standing trials from the first of January. We are in a really good position to apply for what they call ‘early adopter’ status. We've done that, and we'll do everything that we need to do to make sure we are top of the list and are ready to be part of the early adopter trial.

"We will now wait to see whether we will be approved, but I am confident that we'll be able to deliver everything against the SGSA criteria."

For those clubs who are accepted into the ‘early adopter’ trial, the licensed standing areas will be independently evaluated from their introduction in January for the remainder of the 2021/22 season.