Last updated : 31 May 2007 By editor

From the Guardian:

'One of the survivors of the Hillsborough disaster yesterday offered tentative support to the campaign for the reintroduction of standing areas to major football grounds.

'Dr Anne Eyre said that a report launched yesterday by the Football Supporters' Federation, which calls on the football authorities to allow safe standing areas on the terraces, was a "reasoned contribution" to the debate, which "merits the most careful and detailed consideration".

'The FSF is calling on the government to repeal regulations requiring stadiums to be all-seater, replacing them with a new regulation setting out standards under which a safe standing area may be licensed.

'Its report argues that standing areas would be popular with supporters, promote choice and social inclusion in the game and remove an area of potential conflict between supporters and stewards. The fans' group claims already to have won the support of 142 MPs and it will be lobbying Uefa, Fifa, the chairman of every football club, police match commanders and club safety officers.

'Steven Powell, head of development at the FSF, said that the Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool supporters died in 1989, had not been caused by standing, but by poor management of crowds and bad stadium design.

'He said that standing areas at Borussia Dortmund and Schalke's stadiums in Germany had helped encourage younger supporters to attend football, with ticket prices for adults starting from as little as £6.34.

'A spokesman for the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, said the report would be studied, but said the government's opposition to standing areas was unchanged. "Memories of Hillsborough are still very strong and the findings of the Taylor report are still relevant. We are not considering changed in the rules governing seating at grounds," he said.'