Aston Villa have become the first Premier League club to publicly support a new campaign for trials of safe standing areas in top-flight and Championship stadiums.

The campaign, which has been launched by the Football Supporters' Federation, has received backing by Villa, as well as Championship club Peterborough United, to allow small-scale trials of safe standing areas. They have also volunteered to host a trial at their ground, Villa Park.

Paul Faulkner, chief executive of the Premier League club, said: “We have had a number of good discussions and meetings with the FSF over the past 12 months and fully support their campaign to allow small-scale trials of safe standing areas at grounds.
“Whenever we have discussed the topic with our fans we've found almost unanimous support for such a trial, and the concept of giving fans the choice to decide to either sit or stand at a game.

“We believe Villa Park could be a potential venue for such a trial, and would like the opportunity to progress the plans further with the wider support of the football community in this country.”
Peter Daykin, Safe Standing Coordinator at the FSF, said: “For two decades since the Taylor Report, the overwhelming majority of football supporters have favoured a choice of standing and sitting at football, and fans continue to stand throughout all levels of the game today, even in the Premier League and Championship where it is against ground regulations and facilities are designed for sitting.”

Last year, the Hillsborough Family Support Group opposed any move to bring back standing areas.
HFSG spokesman Margaret Aspinall said then: "The Hillsborough Family Support Group are totally against any form of standing whatsoever. We are absolutely against it and always will be. Our football clubs should remain all-seater stadiums.

Posted on 29/10/2012