Major update on safe standing at Fratton Park that will please all Portsmouth fans amid trials at Manchester United, Chelsea, Tottenham and Cardiff City

Pompey chief executive Andy Cullen has revealed safe standing at Fratton Park could soon be an ‘inevitability’.

By Sam Cox
Thursday, 17th February 2022, 5:30 pm

It comes as more trials across the Premier League and Championship are set to take place before the end of the season – with Manchester United, Manchester City, Spurs and Cardiff City all participating.

Chelsea’s Stamford Bridge fixture against Liverpool on January 2 kicked off the experiment.

Now the Blues CEO has revealed plans are already in place to implement such arrangements in the Fratton and Milton ends, if the tests prove successful.

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Four months on and Cullen believes the return of safe standing would rectify a small problem at Fratton Park.

Speaking to members of the Southsea Castle Rotary Club at a specially-arranged Q&A meeting on Wednesday night, he said: ‘We do have a problem (with persistent standing).

‘We’re in the top quartile as far as the sports ground safety authorities are concerned, but it is an issue in terms of the persistent standing that goes on in the Fratton End.

The Fratton End could be used to facilitate safe standing at Fratton Park.

‘It’s a natural thing, but it will now come to the fore because there’s a pilot going on in the Premier League and with Cardiff City in the Championship.

‘They’re looking at different forms of railed seating and safe standing.

‘I think it’s highly likely it will be successful and clubs would then be able to be licensed to have safe standing in grounds.

‘The default for that is, if you’ve got a problem, and you don’t put safe standing in, you could have your licence revoked.

‘It’s something we’re currently exploring, so we’re looking at different forms to try and be ready for it.

‘We’ve been put on notice by the SGSA (Sports Grounds Safety Authority) to look at this and we have a plan in place to look at what we can do.’

The multi-million pound transformation of Fratton Park is well under way with the reprofiling of the North Stand Lower currently taking priority.

And just like supporters affected by that work, Cullen reaffirmed the Fratton faithful will be consulted before any plans for safe standing are cemented, with different models currently being assessed.

He added: ‘The most important thing for us to do is to consult the people in those areas if it's a route we go down.

‘It might well be that we look at different models. One third or more across the whole stand that becomes safe standing.

‘I almost feel (safe standing) will be an inevitability, if these pilots are successful, that you will see it in the Fratton End.

‘You won’t see it in the North or South stands but, potentially, in the Milton or Fratton ends.

‘It’s potentially going to be on the cards going forward.’

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