Soccer-Standing areas may return in English second tier


LONDON, Feb 7 (Reuters) - Football League clubs say they are in favour of standing areas at stadiums and plan to hold talks to bring them back at Championship level.

Standing at Premier League and Championship (second tier) matches has been banned since 96 Liverpool fans died at Hillsborough in 1989 while clubs in League 1 and 2 are allowed sections of terracing.

At a vote of the 72 Football League clubs on Thursday, the majority were in favour of bringing back standing areas at second tier grounds.

"Consultation has given us a better understanding of the wide range of views held by clubs on this issue and we will take our cue from the prevailing opinion," Football League chief executive Shaun Harvey said in a statement on Friday.

"We recognise this is both a complicated and sensitive matter that will need significant debate. Therefore, no-one should assume that it will lead to overnight change."

Peter Daykin, safe-standing co-ordinator for the Football Supporters' Federation, told the BBC the vote was a significant development for soccer.

"We're approaching 25 years since the Hillsborough disaster and both football and policing technology is a completely different ball game now," said Daykin.

Margaret Aspinall, from the Hillsborough Family Support Group, said they were still opposed to terracing.

"We have listened carefully to the arguments but, as far as the Hillsborough Family Support Group is concerned, we had a vote on this and it was a unanimous vote that there is no such thing as safe standing," she told the BBC.

"I do not understand why people want to go backwards after so many steps forward." (Reporting by Josh Reich; editing by Tony Jimenez)

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