Liverpool FC secures ‘safe standing’ licence

Liverpool FC fans in certain sections of Anfield will be able to stand up during matches this season after the club secured a new licence. Tony McDonough reports

Anfield stadium, home of Liverpool Football Club


Liverpool FC has secured a ‘safe standing’ licence that will allow fans in certain sections of Anfield to stand up during matches.

On Saturday, the Reds will play their first home game of the Premier League season against Bournemouth. Safe standing will be allowed across previously installed rail seating in sections on the Kop and in the lower Anfield Road Stand.

In August 2021 Liverpool introduced a rail seating trial which included 7,800 seats on the Kop and across the lower tier of the Anfield Road stand. These only allowed people to stand at certain moments such as goal celebrations.

However, the new licence will mean supporters in those designated areas will be able to continue standing through general play.

Following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which cost the lives of 97 people, and the subsequent Taylor Report, English football moved away from terracing and introduced all-seater stadiums.

Liverpool FC’s famous Kop terrace, which once had a capacity of 27,000, was demolished in 1994 to make way for a new all-seater stand.

However, while many fans acknowledged greater emphasis on safety, others bemoaned the perceived change in atmosphere in all-seater arenas. And in recent years this has led to fans at a number of clubs standing up in defiance of the stay-seated rule.

This became an increasing phenomenon at grounds such as Anfield and it led to calls for the introduction of so-called ‘safe standing’ areas. In 2022 year the Government added flexibility to stadium safety licences to allow these to go ahead.

Safe standing areas are licensed by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA). Fans must be able to sit or stand – the seats cannot be locked in the ‘up’ or ‘down’ position.

There must also be one seat/space per person and licensed standing areas must not impact the viewing standards of other fans, including disabled supporters.

Briefing and training will be in place for staff and stewards to ensure only relevant ticket holders are admitted to the licensed standing areas, and CCTV will offer full coverage of these areas.

In a statement, the club said: “LFC reviewed the effectiveness of rail seating in relation to fans’ safety at the end of a trial period last season and, as a result of its findings, applied for a Safe Standing Licence.

“The latest enforcement recommendations from the SGSA state that stadiums with rail seating for more than two years must apply for a Safe Standing Licence.”

This latest installation phase for rail seating took place this summer when a further 3,000 rail seats were placed on the Kop, in the remainder of blocks 202-208, up to row 33.

This took the total to 7,425 rail seats on the Kop, just over 55 per cent of stand capacity. The club plans to extend rail seating on the Kop next year to blocks 102-108, up to row 13.

Liverpool FC consulted with its Supporters Board about its application for a Safe Standing Licence.

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