Portsmouth reveal Fratton Park safe standing ambition after success of Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Cardiff trials

Pompey are considering installing safe standing at Fratton Park beyond next season.

Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 6:54 pm
Updated Wednesday, 15th June 2022, 7:13 pm

And the Fratton End and a reconstructed Milton End are the areas of the ground being focused on.

Andy Cullen revealed the Blues are open to putting rails into seated areas following the success of a government-commissioned pilot study.

The scheme saw Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United, Tottenham and Cardiff trialling safe standing since January.

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The findings are presently being assessed, with hopes high across football that the green light will be given for a permanent introduction.

And Cullen insists Pompey are keen to get involved.

The Blues’ chief executive told The News: ‘The pilot scheme concluded at the end of May. Now the report will go to Parliament and, if necessary, we’ll probably start to see some legislation go through which will allow clubs to have a return to safe standing.

‘We are open to this. It may be something we have to recognise because of the issues of persistent standing identified in some parts of Fratton Park.

Pompey are open to installing safe standing to Fratton Park beyond next season. Picture: Graham Hunt/ProSportsImages/PinP

‘It’s a decision we need to be mindful of, we must ensure safety is very much at the forefront of everybody’s minds.

‘The number one factor when spectators come to football matches is not about winning the game, but feeling safe – and there are good reasons for that.

‘The great paradox of safe standing is that while everybody stands up, you still need a seat. You don’t increase capacity with safe standing, in fact you end up more or less where you were because it’s rail seating.

‘We wouldn’t necessarily install it in the North or South Stands because we don’t have issues there. It would be in the Fratton End and the away end.

‘We’d embark on a consultation process with people in the Fratton End about the areas where it could be introduced.

‘It wouldn’t be all of the stand, rather a section that will enable people to enjoy football and not compromise others.’

Fratton Park is presently undergoing a £11.5m redevelopment, focused on the North Stand, South Stand and Milton End.

With the project set for completion by the summer of 2024, Cullen believes safe standing could also be absorbed during such ground improvements.

He added: ‘With the Milton End, it’s something we’re looking at over the next 4-5 months in terms of proportions of what we would do.

‘There is a greater tendency for away supporters at all grounds to stand as opposed to sitting down.

‘Overall, I think next season is probably too early for safe standing to happen, it’s for the longer-term. The legislation is not yet in place to allow us to do that.

‘The trials have been successful, so we’ll wait to see what the government comes back with.’

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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