Safe Standing: Could standing return as part of the County Ground redevelopment?

Ron Smith asks is there a demand from Swindon Town supporters for Safe-Standing areas to make an appearance at the rebuilt County Ground, should this be allowed in years to come? Please give your views by taking part in our Safe-Standing Survey below.

If you were watching Swindon Town versus Leeds United from the Shrivenham Road or Stratton Bank in our final match in the Premier League you would have been amongst the final supporters to legally stand at the County Ground. Afterwards the terraces were ripped out, replaced by the Don Rogers Stand and partly hidden by red seats on the bank. Standing – as many still do in the Town End – is against the County Ground regulations with “an eviction policy is in place for supporters who persistently stand in seating areas”.

FSF Safe-Standing Roadshow ‘Rail Seats’ being displayed at Wolves

Currently the Law – dating from 1989 and effective in full in August 1994 – provides the power to stipulate certain football grounds are all-seated, a power that is currently applied only to the Premier League and Championship. The rules say: if a club plays for three – not necessarily consecutive – years at the Championship or above, then terracing must be phased out and its ground must thereafter become all-seater…and remain that way indefinitely, regardless of the level at which the club may play in the future, bizarre as that may sound leaving Luton and others stuck in the lower echelons with all-seater stadia.

After Swindon were refused an extension to the 1994 all-seater deadline to retain the recently modernised Stratton Bank, the County Ground had an inaugural all-seater capacity of 15,341 for the opening fixture of Division One on 14th August 1994. 18 years later Town are set to embark upon the long awaited redevelopment of the County Ground; could standing, specifically Safe-Standing, form part of the design of one or more of the stands? Clearly the main obstacle is that the final decision is out of the club’s hands, requiring a change in Government legislation – not an Act – and support from within the Football League and Premier League to usher in Safe-Standing areas if the clubs and supporters want to install them; which in this age of ‘localism’ is surely the right way to go…

“However, having seen a demonstration of rail seats, we believe that the concept has merit and could provide us with a safe and well-managed means of doing so. We therefore request that the relevant authorities take a close look at the rail seat system with a view to defining appropriate criteria under which it could be introduced in future at grounds such as ours.” – Derby County Manager Nigel Clough speaking July 2012

The Safe-Standing campaign by the Football Supporters Federation is gaining momentum with political and club support; most notably with the Scottish Premier League giving the green light for Safe-Standing last year, Aston Villa announcing they would be looking to install standing areas for 2013/14 and Derby County publicly backing the campaign a few weeks ago.

Safe-Standing within designated areas can be created in a number of way – ‘Safe Standing – What Are Rail Seats’ – which can provide supporter specific and safe accommodation, with one standing fan per seat space or greater ratios. If you want to learn more about Safe-Standing, how it works in practice and the options available then follow this link… or here’s a video…

Please take part in our Safe-Standing Questionnaire below which seeks your views on: whether you would support the provision for Safe-Standing area(s) at the rebuilt County Ground if this was permitted; how it could be implemented; and in what ways could Safe-Standing affect your attendance and matchday experience.


After selecting your answer, click ‘VOTE’ for each of the ten questions. Make sure you click ‘VOTE’ ten times.

Select your answer then click VOTE

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Thank you for taking part in this survey!

The results of the questionnaire will be published in a few weeks and the findings reported to Swindon Town FC and the Football Supporters Federation.

If you agree with Safe-Standing areas being introduced into English Football please also sign the petition at the Football Supporters Federation. 

Photo courtesy the FSF Safe Standing Roadshow


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