It goes without saying that safe standing and rail seating are a bit controversial, especially for our club. Liverpool FC announced on Wednesday that they would be expanding the rail seating section in the Kop, using this current time off in December to install an additional 2,500 seats.
Following a safety review from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), it was reported that persistent standing in the Kop and Anfield Road lower tiers was an issue during matches, and so the trial for rail seats began with 7,800 installed in both sections of the stadium. The expansion of the rail seating will take the Kop end numbers to 4,300, across blocks 202-306 and rows 61-49.
These rail seats will be normal stadium seats, but with a safe standing rail integrated behind them to avoid crowd collapse. The intent is to allow fans a safe way to stand and watch the matches, engage in the goal celebrations, etc, but to also allow a chance to sit. Seems like a no brainer for anyone that has attended a match at Anfield - especially in the Kop.
The club has also consulted with their Supporters Board in regards to the addition, and received positive feedback from the representatives about the decision. The expansion will be reviewed once again at the end of the season, and likely revisited as to whether or not another expansion would be prudent.
Andy Hughes, managing director at Liverpool FC, said: “Following a review of the initial rail seating trial last season, we will now expand the trial and introduce rail seating in additional areas of the Kop to further address crowd safety and persistent standing in line with SGSA guidance.
“The health and safety of our supporters when attending matches at Anfield is paramount. As we have said before, it is essential that we listen to the experts and deliver their recommendations to address this important safety issue.”
Liverpool Men return to action at Anfield on December 30th, with their matches on the 22nd and 26th both away, giving the club a full month to implement the new seating standard.