Manchester United given permission to trial safe standing at Old Trafford

Safe standing is coming to Old Trafford after Manchester United’s plans to trial barrier seating were approved by the local council.

All-seater stadiums have been mandatory in the top two tiers of English football since 1994-95, following recommendations on stadium safety made in the Taylor Report following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

But there has been a renewed push in recent years for safe standing to be brought into the top levels of English football, with United set to follow fellow Premier League clubs Tottenham and Wolves in installing rail seating.

Following changes to the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) Green Guide, the Old Trafford club made a formal proposal to the local Safety Advisory Group in December to request a trial.

Trafford Council has now approved plans for 1,500 seats in J-Stand, with United intending to have barrier seating in place for next season – and would look at potentially installing it in other areas of Old Trafford if successful.

Managing director Richard Arnold said: “It should be stated, up front, that our overwhelming priority is to keep our people safe from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“It may seem strange to talk about stadium plans at this time, but football and our fans will return when it is safe, and our preparations for that must continue in the background.

“This announcement is the latest step in what has been a long journey with our fans.

“We have listened to their feedback, in particular, the representations made by MUST, and worked with Trafford Council to develop and approve this proposal.”

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