Chesterfield fans to be among first to experience 'safe standing' at Stamford Bridge against Chelsea in FA Cup

Spireites fans will be among the first to experience ‘safe standing’ when they visit Stamford Bridge.

By Liam Norcliffe
Tuesday, 4th January 2022, 10:35 am
Chelsea fans use the safe standing area during the Premier League match against Liverpool.

Chelsea, along with Tottenham Hotspur, Manchester United, Manchester City and Cardiff City, have been given permission to allow supporters to legally stand in some areas of their stadiums from January 1 during a trial period to assess whether it can be adopted long-term.

At Stamford Bridge, 12,000 rail seating spaces have been installed in the Matthew Harding Stand lower tier and the Shed End upper and lower tiers, which is where 6,000 Chesterfield fans will be housed on Saturday for the third round tie.

"This is a historic change of policy to allow standing in top-flight football grounds in England and Wales for the first time in nearly 30 years,” Chelsea said in a statement when making the announcement last year.

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“All supporters with tickets in the safe standing areas are allocated a seat as usual but now have the option of standing during the game at their allocated seat.

"Should they wish to, they can remain seated but they must be aware that surrounding fans may stand and there is no dedicated area only for those who wish to sit.”

Chelsea chief executive, Guy Laurence, added: “We are very pleased that we have been approved to operate licensed safe standing areas and that our club will be an early adopter of this historic change in policy. The research and evidence shows that standing can be managed safely, and we look forward to our supporters enjoying this enhanced experience at the earliest opportunity in the new year.”

Chelsea’s game against Liverpool last Sunday was the first time fans have been able to watch from standing areas since laws came into force in 1994 stipulating stadiums in England's top two tiers must be all-seater.

Chelsea’s safe standing ‘code of conduct’ asks people to be polite to stewards, staff and other fans, not to stand on the rails or the seats, sit/stand in your allocated ticket space and not to stand in gangways or on steps to watch the match.

Organised by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), the trial period will run until the end of the season.