The Football Supporters Federation (FSF) hosted an informal meeting last night between Sunderland AFC fans and representatives of the club, regarding the issue of season ticket suspensions due to persistent standing.
The issue has been ongoing for the majority of this season, prompting supporters to speak out.
Due to the Safe Standing campaign the FSF are currently running, they felt a meeting between club representatives and supporters would be a good way to address the issues.
The main issue that arose from both supporters and club representatives was the fact that standing in all-seater stadiums, in all sections, is not allowed.
Peter Daykin, who runs Communications and Publications at the FSF, believes the meeting was a success.
Peter Daykin: “It’s been held in a really constructive spirit where people have been able to speak really frankly about the problems they’ve had. It has been forwarded looking rather than backward looking, solutions not blame.
“There’s been recognition that we haven’t always made the right decisions, either as fans or from the club’s perspective.
"I think people have left with the situation now clearer to them, and they feel more encouraged than when they arrived”.
There was a feeling from supporters that, due to the actions of individual stewards and the standing of supporters of other clubs, that Sunderland AFC is against safe standing. It quickly became evident that this is not the case, and just as much frustration was felt from both parties.
It is clear that the club are under a number of pressures from local councils and authorities, as well as football governing bodies. Whilst they understand the supporters are frustrated, they must adhere to a number of regulations.
The talks were very positive, however, and a number of options were looked into, such as placing clear boundaries around the singing section, as the confusion has led to standing in areas with supporters who wish to stay seated.