Celtic: Standing areas an option at Parkhead

CELTIC chief executive Peter Lawwell has revealed the club are keen to explore safe standing areas at their Parkhead ground.

The Scottish Premier League relaxed its rules on all-seater stadia in December 2011 to allow clubs to experiment with the modern standing areas which have been introduced in the Bundesliga among other places.

No club has followed through on trying out the likes of rail seats, which can be converted from standing to sitting areas for European games, but Celtic are now close to becoming the first.

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The club have had differences of opinion with a section of fans who stand throughout games, the Green Brigade, and Lawwell feels safe standing areas could solve those issues.

Lawwell said: “We think that some of the systems that are now deployed in Germany and other countries, it’s now time to give them a try.

“We feel there is a new vibrancy in football that has come from Europe and is now in the UK.

“It’s an energy and youthfulness and the safest way of being able to manage that is through safe standing. These are new systems that have come in that are extremely safe and we are very keen to explore further implementing that at Celtic Park.”

Celtic quickly reversed a recent decision to close section 111, which houses the Green Brigade, after reaching an agreement with the supporters over a number of safety issues, including “lateral movement”.

“We recognise that they bring an awful lot to the game, to the event here,” said Lawwell. “But there are certain aspects of the behavior that we would deem not safe. Therefore this would be the ultimate solution.”

Lawwell explained the process that Celtic are set to undertake. “I think we need to go to the safety committee at Glasgow City Council,” he said. “They consult with the police, ambulance, fire service and building control, and we need approval from them. It’s not legislation but I think Holyrood need a policy review, rather than legislation, with regard to allowing this to happen as well. We will apply for that.”

Scotland is not bound by the legislation on all-seater stadia which came out of the Taylor Report, which looked at the reasons for the Hillsborough disaster that claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans in 1989.