Information about Railed Seating
Q: Does this mean fans can stand?
A: Anfield will remain an all-seater stadium and the trialled areas with the new seats and safety rails are not ‘safe standing’ areas. We want fans to sit safely. Rail seating creates a barrier to protect supporters in those areas flagged as areas of concern by the SGSA.
Q: What is railed seating vs safe standing?
A: The trial at Anfield will be a railed seat and not a safe standing area. Some safe standing seats lock away to create more space. Anfield is still an all-seater stadium and the rail above the seat is to protect fans and make areas where there is persistent standing safer.
Q: What if fans still continue to stand once the rail seating is in place?
A: The normal persistent standing policy will remain with stewards in place to manage the crowd. We will continue to ensure gangways and vomitories always remain clear.
Q: Does the railed seat impact the view of the pitch?
A: We’ve worked closely with the architects and seating manufacturers to design both stands so that sight lines are not impacted.
Q: What’s the long-term vision for railed seating?
A: At the end of the season-long trial we will assess and if it improves safety, we will look to implement it wider across areas of concern to the SGSA on persistent standing. The factors involved will be the SGSA measurements and we will engage with our fans for their feedback.
Q: What will be the first game it’s in use?
A: The work is starting during the closed season, and we hope to have in place for the potential pre-season matches and the start of the 21/22 season.
Anfield Road stand
Q: Why are you doing Anfield Road now when you are expanding the stand?
A: Following the planning approval there is still a lot of work to do until the construction begins. From the SGSA’s report the trail of rail seating is needed ahead of the scheduled AFR expansion so it will go ahead for the next season. These seats will be removed and reinstalled inside the newly developed stand.
Q: Are there any home fans in this section?
A: Yes, the seats will be around 50/50 split between home and away fans.
The Sports Ground Safety Authority
Q: Who are the SGSA?
A: The Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) is the UK Government’s advisor on safety at sports grounds and a world leader in safety. They provide independent, expert advice, based on nearly three decades of experience in making football in England and Wales a safe and enjoyable experience for spectators. They use experience to advise and support other sports and related industries in the UK and internationally.
Put simply, their purpose is the ensure sports grounds are safe for everyone. They are the ones who issue the clubs license to operate as a football stadium
Q: Where is the SGSA research that points to rail seating being safer?
A: The Sports Ground Safety Authority have carried out an independent review of the safe management of standing across all grounds subject to an all-seater policy.
The research found that, overall, installing barriers had a positive impact on spectator safety, particularly in mitigating the risk of crowd collapse. Celebrations are more orderly with limited opportunity for forward or backwards movement compared to observations in seated areas. Further, safety staff feel that the introduction of barriers has not encouraged standing where supporters previously sat. Other positive impacts include orderly egress, a reduction in the number of supporters leaning on/over perimeter fencing and a decline in conflict that is triggered by persistent standing.
The SGSA also published its approach to enforcement in July 2019 which outlined what reasonable steps clubs should be taking to mitigate the risks associated with persistent standing before more a more robust approach is taken.
Q: What other stadiums are part of the trial?
A: This is already in place at Wolves and Spurs, with Man City, Man Utd, Leeds, West Ham and Chelsea also implementing at their grounds ahead of next season.
From the SGSA: Spurs have recognised the risk of persistent standing in seated areas and taken pre-emptive steps to address this with the introduction of seats incorporating safety bars in some areas of the ground. The seating and safety bar at the ground meet the requirements of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide).
Q: How will the SGSA monitor the trial for success? What are the KPI’s to indicate success?
A: They will carry out their usual inspections to monitor crowd safety along with Building Control. We will also monitor fan behaviour to see if it impacts the persistent standing. We will be talking to the other clubs in the trial to share results at each stadium.
Q: What will happen for next season (22/23) if the trial isn’t a success?
A: If the trial isn’t a success, we will review with the SGSA and Building Control and put back the existing seats.
Information for Season Ticket holders with seats included in the trial
Q. I’ve held my current ST seat for many years and consider it to be in a good position – can you guarantee that if I move to a standard seat, it will be as in as good of a place as my current one?
A. You will be able to choose from a selection of available seats - we will not release your existing season ticket seat until you are sure you wish to re-locate.
Q. My friend/family member and I have seats next to each other – if we requested to move, could you guarantee we’d still be next to each other?
A. Yes, if you wish to remain together, we can discuss the seating options available, before you make the decision on whether to re-locate.
Q. Will I have to swap with someone who’s willing to be in the trial?
A. No, you will be offered one of our existing non-season ticket seats.
Q. If I want to remain in my current seat, is there anything I need to do?
A. No, you do not need to do anything.
Q. What if I choose to swap seats now, is there a chance that in the future my seat will become railed if this gets rolled out further after the trial? What are my options then?
A. We will know more following the trial and will update all supporters of any further changes as soon as we can.