SPL to pilot safe-standing areas for fans
The Scottish Premier League will consider requests to pilot safe-standing areas, following a general meeting of all 12 clubs today.
The league also announced two major changes over “unacceptable conduct”, bringing in an independent commission to rule on clubs who are the subject of complaints and specifically including a ban on the support of terrorist organisations in their rules.
Neil Doncaster, chief executive of the SPL, said: “Since I joined the SPL in 2009, there has been widespread support amongst fans to reintroduce safe standing areas.
“I am delighted that we have been able to respond positively to supporters’ views on improving the match day experience.”
Celtic and Motherwell are among the clubs who have expressed interest in the idea, although applications for standing areas will also have to be approved by local council safety committees and police.
SPL rules currently state that teams must only use seated areas with a minimum of 6,000 seats per stadium.
Scotland is not bound by the law which banned standing areas in top-flight football in England, which came in to force after the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.
Meanwhile, it was also revealed that, after discussions within the Joint Action Group formed to tackle sectarianism, there will be widening of what constitutes “unacceptable conduct” with an independent commission to be set up as the final arbiter.
The statement said: “The amendments to the existing unacceptable conduct rules were put forward following discussions within the Joint Action Group and are part of football’s commitment to protect and maintain the good reputation of the game in Scotland.
“The definition of unacceptable conduct within the SPL rules has been extended to include ‘using words, conduct or displaying any writing or other thing which indicates support for, or affiliation to, or celebration of, or opposition to an organisation proscribed in terms of the Terrorism Act 2000’.
“A number of amendments to the accompanying guidance notes which set out the minimum standards expected of SPL clubs in relation to tackling unacceptable conduct will also be introduced.
“Where a charge is to be laid that a club has not met the requirements of the unacceptable conduct rules, the case will be heard by an independent commission.”
Doncaster said: “Changes to our rules on unacceptable conduct raise the bar in terms of what is expected of clubs and shows our clubs are committed to playing their part in tackling unacceptable conduct.”
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