Scunthorpe United football fans are seeking support from Liberal Democrat MPs for a campaign to maintain standing areas that could have implications for all major football grounds.
Scunthorpe supporters hope to keep their terracing and avoid seating being installed in the Doncaster Road end of Glanford Park football ground.
Regulations forcing clubs to switch to all-seater stadiums were introduced in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.
Clubs must install seating within three years of being promoted to the NPower Championship. Scunthorpe have enjoyed two seasons in the championship. But many fans argue that seating destroys the atmosphere at matches.
The Keep Scunthorpe Standing campaign to date has the signatures of over 2,000 fans, including the club’s most famous supporter, former cricketer Sir Ian Botham.
With backing from the Football Supporters Federation (FSF), the campaigners are trying to persuade Lib Dems to place pressure on the Conservatives to support safe standing in football grounds.
Lib Dem MP Don Foster has taken the case to sports minister Hugh Robertson. “He’s agreed this is an important issue worth looking at again and will be speaking to the FA, the Premier League, the Football League and the Football Licensing Authority to discuss the potential for change,” said Foster.
Scunthorpe fan David Beverley is gathering further support, including local Conservative MP Andrew Percy. Labour leader Ed Miliband has also pledged his support for campaign.
No compelling argument
Chris Nash, FSF representative, said: “Plenty of large grounds in Europe have standing areas that are safe. Similar facilities could be made for fans who’d prefer to stand.”
But a spokesperson for the Department of Culture and Sport said: “We are not convinced that a compelling argument has been made to change legislation. There are no plans to change policy and Scunthorpe will be required to convert to an all-seater stadium by next season.”
Beverley added: “We will stand our ground.”
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