sport

Bristol City eye Safe Standing

Bristol City are hoping to lead the way by becoming the first English club to install 'safe standing' rail seats at Ashton Gate.

The League One club is aiming to redevelop its historic home, starting this summer, and wants to include the rail seating in two stands, subject to the relevant legal hurdles being passed.

Initially, the safe standing areas will only be able to be used when Bristol Rugby are holding games at the stadium as current regulations prohibit their use for football matches - the Football League has agreed to lobby the Government for a change in rules.

Standing areas in stadiums in the top two football divisions in England were outlawed after the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

The first block of rail seats was unveiled on Wednesday in front of dignitaries from the Football Association and Football League.

The club's chief executive Doug Harman said: "If we are given the relevant permissions, this could be a great opportunity for Bristol City FC to become the first club in the Football League to install rail seating, as well as becoming a showcase for other teams up and down the country.

"At last week's Football League meeting there was clear strong support from clubs for the League to approach the authorities for a relaxation and change in the regulations.

"We've received feedback from our supporters who are keen for the option of safe standing and with the proposed redevelopment of Ashton Gate and Bristol Rugby's move to the stadium this summer, this seems to be the right time to explore this further."

Malcolm Clarke, chairman of the Football Supporters' Federation, added: "What we were often told for many years is that none of the football authorities were in favour of it.

"But that is clearly no longer the case as the Football League, after a very thorough consultation, have shown that a large majority are in favour.

"We hope that the Premier League now, at the appropriate time, will consider this - there are a number of Premier League clubs who are openly in favour - and then we can take the debate forward again."