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Football grounds should have standing area, says Croydon and Sutton GLA member

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CREATING areas for fans to stand within football grounds should be looked at again, according to London Assembly Member Steve O'Connell.

Mr O'Connell, who represents Croydon and Sutton, described the Palace v Brighton match as having one of the best atmospheres he has seen for years. He pointed out that a large number of supporters remained on their feet during the derby.

Mr O'Connell has joined the calls for the Government to allow trials of safe standing areas in England.

He said: "It struck me on Saturday when probably half the ground were standing in a very safe environment and fantastic atmosphere. And I remember going back, for very good reasons, why all-seater stadiums were introduced because of all the tragedies around Hillsborough and elsewhere.

"I think football has moved on, peoples' behaviour has moved on and safety has moved on.

"No one wants to see a return to the hooliganism of the 1970s, but wouldn't it be great, within a controlled area, for fans who choose to, to be able to stand shoulder to shoulder again?"

In October, Crystal Palace Football Club backed calls for standing trials.

Co-chairman Stephen Browett said he "fully supported" proposals to pilot technology currently used in Germany.


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