Doncaster explains standing schemes
Scotland's top-flight clubs have been given the green light to pilot safe standing schemes in their stadiums but Scottish Premier League chief executive Neil Doncaster stressed it does not signal the return to the old-style terracing.
The SPL announced a relaxation of their rules on standing following a general meeting of all 12 clubs on Monday. Scotland is not bound by the law which banned standing areas in top-flight football in England, which came into force after the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Doncaster pointed to modern systems used in Europe like 'Rail' where there is a safety barrier and a seat on every row which can be locked for SPL games and unfolded for other competitions, as options for interested clubs. "There is no suggestion that we are simply opening up the terracings again," he said.
"It is about introducing areas that are safe for standing, like the Rail system that we have seen working successfully in Germany might be considered. It won't affect the requirement to have 6,000 covered seats at grounds, that will still remain but over and above that, clubs can bring forward pilot schemes.
"Clearly there is some investment that would be required with clubs. That investment may be met by the demand of safe standing that seems to be out there. Whenever we do consult with supporters they say, often in numbers, that they would like to see the re-introduction of safe standing.
"Atmosphere is a big part of it. I am of a generation who went to games where safe-standing was allowed. That atmosphere is something special and it would certainly add to it at a number of grounds."
Doncaster believes the new pilot schemes could be up and running for season 2012/13.
He said: "Potentially we can receive applications from the word go so in theory it could start as early as next season. But it's really up to the clubs. Our rules currently say that no safe-standing is allowed in SPL stadia, so that is at least one hurdle removed.
"There are several stadia where it just can't be done because of the architecture of the stadium but where clubs can look at and wish to do it, this is a step forward."
Celtic and Motherwell are among the clubs who have expressed interest in the idea, although applications for standing areas will also have to be approved by local council safety committees and police.
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