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From August 1994 to January 2022, clubs in the English Premier League (PL) and Championship had been required to provide all-seated accommodation. This followed Lord Justice Taylor’s report into the Hillsborough disaster of April 1989.

Throughout this period improvements in stadium design, the wishes of some fans to stand, and the success of “safe standing” in other European countries, led to calls for the introduction of standing areas at PL and Championship grounds. The 2019 Conservative Party Manifesto (PDF) included a commitment to “work with fans and clubs towards introducing safe standing”.

In November 2021, the then Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) announced that, from 1 January 2022, standing would be allowed in licensed areas at the grounds of five clubs – Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur. Other parts of the grounds would have to remain all-seated. The change was introduced through the Football Spectators (Seating) Order 2021 (SI 2021/1239).

On 4 July 2022, the DCMS announced that standing would be allowed at all football clubs subject to the all-seated policy. This would be subject to fulfilling the Sports Ground Safety Authority’s (SGSA) licensing criteria. In addition to the five clubs that were granted licenses in January 2022, the following teams were granted licensed standing areas for the 2022/23 season: Brentford, Queens Park Rangers and Wolverhampton Wanderers. Wembley also has a safe standing section for domestic matches. The change was introduced through the Football Spectators (Seating) Order 2022 (SI 2022/728).

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