Kilmarnock to join Celtic in providing safe standing areas within their stadium - first in Britain for U16s

Kilmarnock will take the progressive step of installing safe-standing areas within Rugby Park.

Kilmarnock will introduce safe standing areas at Rugby Park. Picture: SNS
Kilmarnock will introduce safe standing areas at Rugby Park. Picture: SNS

In doing so they will become the first British club to have a designated area for under-16s to stand.

The project, which is set to be completed in mid-September at a cost of around £40,000, is being entirely funded by fans through the Killie Trust who "promote, develop and support" the club and football in the community.

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They join Celtic in providing fans with a safe-standing section in the Ladbrokes Premiership. The Parkhead side introduced their area in 2016 and it has become the benchmark for others clubs interested in following suit.

Killie fans will be able to stand at matches. Picture: SNS

There will be 166 rails seats for youngsters in the Family Stand, and a further 158 for adults in the East Stand.

The decision to install the Bundesliga-style areas is one way to engage with the younger fanbase and improve the atmosphere at Rugby Park.

Killie Trust chair Jim Thomson told PA Sport: "We had more than 12,000 fans in for the last game of the season against Rangers and the atmosphere was incredible but our average gate is more like 8,000 - better than it was not long ago but still too many empty seats.

"So we're trying to develop the Family Stand, which we used to give over to Old Firm fans but have now reclaimed.

"We think putting rail seats in there so the older kids can stand with their mates, but still in sight of their parents, will be a really social thing for them. It will also hopefully encourage them to keep coming as they get older."

Wheelchair platforms to give disabled fans a much better viewing experience at Rugby Park will also be installed.

Director Cathy Jamieson told Kilmarnock's website: “We have been looking at the option to install safe standing areas for the past few months and after much research, we are delighted to announce that we have agreed on an installation schedule and will be able to offer this very soon.

“Our supporters have been paramount to the process and as the first provincial club in Scotland that will be able to offer this to fans, we really look forward to seeing the project to completion.

“Funded by Trust in Killie, a supporter lead organisation, we expect demand for this new area in the East Stand to be high and look forward to improving the matchday experience for our fans in the grounds where comradery will further enhance the matchday atmosphere.

“I would like to thank existing Season Ticket holders in this area, some of which have held their seats for a number of years, as they have very kindly agreed to move from the areas affected.

“We have been working hard to ensure they are satisfied with the service they received from our team to make sure they got the best alternative arrangements. Supporters in this area and Trust in Killie members will get first refusal in the new safe standing areas, but we are sure that there will be enough to appeal supporter demands.”