CELTIC football club has announced they will introduce “safe standing” in the form of rail seating, potentially in time for the 2016/17 season.
The area is expected to initially accommodate up to 2,600 supporters and follows several years of dialogue with the relevant authorities to make this a reality.
Chief Executive, Peter Lawwell said, “The introduction of rail seating at Celtic Park represents an investment in spectator safety. Across football globally, the reality is that some supporters are choosing to stand at matches.
“This is something we must accept and manage and also understand the positive effect which these areas have on atmosphere at matches. Celtic’s primary objective will always be the safety and comfort of its supporters – this new system will now allow fans to stand safely at matches.
“Rail seating has been in place in European football for some time and there has been considerable demand for some form of ‘safe standing’ within the UK and particularly from our supporters. We are sure the rail seating section will prove very popular with supporters and we look forward to its introduction.”
Independent Safety and Security expert Dr Steve Frosdick has been closely involved in the proposals. He said, “This is a pioneering move by Celtic and one which has spectator safety at its core. For the first time in the UK, football fans will be able to stand to watch the game from purpose-built accommodation which is demonstrably safe.
“Although standing up throughout the match has become increasingly common, persistent standing between rows of seats has been a concern for football clubs and the authorities. Clearly the club was keen to find a better way of safely accommodating those fans who wanted to stand. There was, of course, no question of going back to the standing terraces of old. However, the new style rail seating found in Germany and Austria provides the solution the club was seeking. The seat folds away and each fan stands in their own designated space behind a waist-high rail.”