Published on Jul 31, 2012
The idiocy of current all-seater regulations at UK football grounds, and the simplicity of the 'rail seat' alternative, is highlighted by this silent movie. Enjoy, share and please sign the petition at http://www.fsf.org.uk/safestanding
So why the big white rabbit?
He's 'Peter Burrow', the mascot of Peterborough United FC, who themselves are facing a dilemma. Their stadium, London Road, has provided facilities for standing fans for almost 100 years, including every year since the club was formed and began playing there in 1934. The ground is currently the last remaining one in the top two tiers of football in England and Wales to offer spectators a choice of seats or standing accommodation. However that choice is under threat!
Under current regulations Peterborough United's highly popular terraces, which are safe and well managed, will be deemed unsafe as of summer 2013. Well, that is unless they were to be relegated to the third tier, in which event the terraces would miraculously be deemed still safe and the club could continue using them for years and years and years ... or until their next promotion... when they would suddenly be condemned!
As you can see there is no logic in the regulations. Either the London Road terraces are safe or they are not.
Accepting, however, that saving the terraces is probably not possible, the club has embraced an alternative form of standing accommodation that even opponents of terraces are hard pushed to claim could possibly be unsafe, i.e. rail seats.
Rail seats are used extensively in Germany. Designated standing areas are fitted with the rail seats. The seats themselves lock upright within the frame, while the high back to each seat forms a sturdy rail along every row. As seen in the video, it is impossible to fall forward in such an area (unlike if standing, as thousands of fans now do, among normal seats). As fans who want to stand will be accommodated in the designated safe standing areas, those who prefer to sit will no longer be inconvenienced by having their view obstructed by standing fans in seated areas. Stewards, too, will have a much easier life!
The seats within the rail seat frames can be unlocked by groundstaff and lowered for use as seats when the ground stages events for which an all-seater configuration is desired.
After going to Germany to see rail seats for himself, Peterborough's Chief Executive Bob Symns said: "Having seen a new option in Hannover, I am convinced that a standing area fitted with rail seats would be even safer still and I cannot see any logical reason why we should not be allowed to build a new London Road End incorporating such an area. I therefore fully support the FSF's safe standing campaign and hope that together we can persuade the powers that be to look seriously at the rail seat option. If they wanted to use London Road as a pilot site, we'd be more than happy to oblige!"
So, that's why we have "Peter Burrow" as the star of our film!
If you agree that the current situation is daft and would like the authorities to take a proper look at safe standing using rail seats, please share this video and sign the Football Supporters' Federation's petition at http://www.fsf.org.uk/safestanding
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