Manchester City are set to install over 5,000 rail seats at the Etihad as club chiefs look to follow Spurs and Wolves by introducing safe standing with work to be completed for next season
- Manchester City are set to start work on installing more than 5,000 rail seats
- City will refit the entire bottom tier of their South Stand for the construction
- They are looking to follow Spurs and Wolves by introducing the rail seats
Manchester City are taking the major step of installing more than 5,000 rail seats at the Etihad Stadium this summer.
The Premier League leaders have committed to the work in preparation for a potential change in government legislation to permit safe standing at football stadia.
City will undergo the construction ahead of next season, refitting the entire bottom tier of their South Stand. Around 10 per cent of that will be for away supporters.
Manchester City are preparing to install more than 5,000 rail seats ahead of next season
Club chiefs want to refit the entire bottom of the South Stand behind the goal at the Etihad
Tottenham and Wolves have already kitted out their stadiums with the rail seats, while Manchester United are in the process of erecting 1,500 in a corner of Old Trafford.
City will fit 5,620 seats with a rail in front to lean on behind one goal at the Etihad and believe the decision will enhance safety in an area where persistent standing occurs.
The club’s managing director of operations Danny Wilson said: ‘Whilst we will continue to remind supporters that they should remain seated during matches, we are also pleased to inform them that the installation of a rail seating area means the Etihad Stadium will be ready and prepared should the government bring forward legislation to introduce safe standing in the Premier League.
City want to be ready should the Government change their legislation on safe standing
‘The development and installation of a bespoke rail seating system at the Etihad Stadium will not only improve supporter safety but also ensures that until there is a change in legislation which permits safe standing, the matchday experience of supporters and Seasoncard holders in the lower tier of the South Stand will remain unaffected.’
The move follows extensive research and consultation by City, who worked closely with Manchester City Council and the Sports Ground Safety Authority.
Standing at matches has been banned in the top two tiers since the Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough Disaster but rail seating has proved successful on the continent.
The club are hoping to follow the lead of Spurs, who have successfully introduced rail seats
A wide-ranging survey of City supporters, conducted in 2018 regarding the future development of the Etihad, prompted ‘overwhelmingly positive’ feedback on the prospect of rail seating.
City wanted to oversee the changes during the summer months so as not to disrupt supporters mid-season.
They are also undergoing a major rebuild of the Etihad surface, with a complete refit from the foundations – their largest expenditure on the pitch in 11 years.
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