Lower league English soccer team Shrewsbury Town recently became the first club in the country to install a safe standing section. Since then, the club has been working with specialist training company Mitre Group to ensure its club stewards are equipped to support the new area.
The 555 new rail seats at the club’s Montgomery Waters Meadow stadium see a return of standing areas, which had been phased out at stadia across the UK and Europe due to safety issues. The new stadium technology introduces railings in front of the seating to prevent crowd crushing.
Soccer fans have been campaigning for a return of standing areas and after their recent installation at clubs in the German Bundesliga and Major League Soccer (MLS) in the USA, the small Shropshire team has beaten even Premier League clubs to become the first to introduce the pioneering new setup.
Shrewsbury Town FC has been training its staff with Mitre Group to understand and handle how the new standing seating will affect fans and their behavior.
“Mitre have been exceptional to work with and our partnership has been built on Mitre having a fantastic understanding of the sector and especially around the unique dynamics of standing supporters,” said Lawrence Ellerby, safety officer at Shrewsbury Town FC.
“The safety of all our supporters is of paramount importance to us while ensuring we also enhance the match day experience – the training our stewards have received has been extremely thorough and equips our staff with the skills they require to carry out their duties.”
Jennie Bowmer, managing director, Mitre Group explained how the introduction of safe standing areas is changing the landscape of stadia and soccer fans: “We have developed our programs as the moving landscape of sport requires it to – safe standing wasn’t an area we needed to include a year ago, now its high on the agenda for many other clubs.”
August 23, 2018