LONDON, ENGLAND - Sunday, January 2, 2022: Liverpool supporters in the safe standing area during the FA Premier League match between Chelsea FC and Liverpool FC at Stamford Bridge. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

UEFA to allow safe standing for first time since 1988

For the first time since 1988, UEFA are to allow safe standing in their club competitions this season as part of a trial in England, Germany and France.

Liverpool are one of a number of clubs that have been given a license for safe standing in European competition next season, but they are not expected to implement full safe standing.

Anfield currently has approximately 1,800 rail seats in the Kop and 6,000 in the lower Anfield Road End, but the ground is still very much an all-seater stadium.

The Reds were not among the clubs to trial safe standing in the Premier League last season but they were involved in the pilot, against Chelsea at Stamford Bridge, back in January.

The club have been eager to stress that their rail seating is to allow for a safer experience for fans during games and that fans should remain seated when possible, having yet moved to implement full safe standing areas to allow for standing during a match.

Man City, Man United, Chelsea and Tottenham all have safe standing areas, with the latter home to the biggest section in England, and they too have been given a licence for the 2022/23 season.

Anfield, Kop, rail seating (Image: This Is Anfield)

The Times report that the trial, described as an ‘observer programme’, will cover the Champions League, Europa League and Europa Conference League, but not any of their respective finals.

“The programme will be carried out during the group stage and knockout phases up to and including the semi-finals of the 2022-23 Uefa men’s club competitions. The finals are excluded,” UEFA’s statement read.

“Uefa will appoint independent experts to analyse the use of standing facilities at both domestic and international club matches in those countries to assess the different dynamics between national and international supporters and the related safety and security implications.”

UEFA’s ban on standing during games has been in place since 1988, introduced after the Heysel Stadium disaster and other serious incidents, with the trial now allowing standing for the first time in 34 years.

At the end of the season, an experts’ report will be reviewed by UEFA to determine if the trial should be extended or allowed on a permanent basis.