Football fans lose standing area battle

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Pars Supporters Trust

By Cara Sulieman

FOOTBALL fans have lost their battle to get the ban on standing areas at Scottish Premier League football stadiums overturned.

The Pars Supporters Trust submitted a petition to the Scottish Parliament, arguing that the all-seater rule penalised clubs who were forced to build stands for promotion to the SPL.

After hearing from various bodies, the Public Petitions Committee of the Scottish Parliament decided to close the petition meaning no reprieve for the terraces.

But the supporters are not happy, saying that the bodies consulted did not understand the argument they were putting forward.

“Disappointing”

Stephen Taylor from the Pars Supporters Trust said: “The responses received have been extremely disappointing due to the apparent lack of understanding of what we are actually asking for.

“Also disappointing is the fairly broad presumptions made by the police that football fans have caused trouble in the past and, therefore, will do so again in the future.

“The Scottish Football Association has brushed the matter aside, referring it to the SPL as it is their rule we are questioning.

“This is despite the fact that many thousands of fans stood during the recent internationals in Glasgow suggesting that this is something the SFA should be more actively considering.

“The SPL are notable for their lack of feedback.”

No choice

After the petition was first discussed at the committee’s meeting on May 5, it was decided that they would contact the Scottish Government, SPL, SFA, Scottish Police Federation, ACPOS and the Health and Safety Executive to get their views on the issue.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Parliament said that the responses from the various bodies left the committee with no choice but to close the petition.

She said: “There was discussion around what more the committee could do in the light of the responses received.

“However, it also agreed to write to the petitioner indicating that, should there be developments with this issue, they could bring forward a further petition.”

The Dunfermline supporters gathered 2,314 signatures on the petition.

“Limited standing”

When it was first put forward, Steven Taylor explained that they were proposing “safe” standing area based on those used by German clubs, rather than a return to the old-style standing areas in Scotland.

He said: “We are looking at limited standing and clubs having the choice.

“At the moment if you get to the SPL there are minimum 6,000 seats and no standing.

“You have got clubs in the First Division just now such as Queen of the South, Greenock Morton and Ross County who next year could be vying for promotion to the SPL.

“They would be faced with a major headache, having to spend hundreds of thousands of pounds putting new seats in.”

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