Manchester City will install over 5 000 rail seats at the Etihad Stadium, the Premier League club said, a move that will allow spectators to stand safely during matches next season.
The seats, which are designed to lock into a folded position and give fans space to stand, would be installed over the summer in the lower tier of the South Stand, City said.
Standing at grounds in the top two tiers is banned but clubs have looked to find a middle ground, with Wolverhampton Wanderers installing rail seats at their Molineux stadium.
NEWS | Work will begin this summer to install 5,620 rail seats in the lower tier of the Etihad Stadium’s South Stand – including the South East and South West corners – to enhance supporter safety, replacing the current seats.
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 23, 2021
Manchester United, who have also experienced long-running problems with fans refusing to sit down in parts of their all-seater Old Trafford ground, are in the process of erecting 1 500 at Old Trafford.
City said the move followed extensive research and that it would “enhance safety in an area where persistent standing occurs”.
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“Whilst we will continue to remind supporters 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 … should the government bring forward legislation to introduce safe standing in the Premier League,” City’s managing director of operations Danny Wilson said.
Standing was banned in the top two divisions in the wake of the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster that resulted in the death of 96 Liverpool fans.