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It might only be a small step forward, but news has surfaced today via the Daily Mail that the Premier League has contacted all of its twenty clubs asking their opinion on safe standing.

According to the Mail, who confirm they have seen the email sent out, clubs have been asked if they would be interested in piloting safe standing as well as being asked for their thoughts on the issue as part of a wide ranging consultation.

Liverpool are included, and that is significant given how emotive the subject is. The Hillsborough Family Support Group are still firmly opposed although both the Hillsborough Justice Campaign and fans’ group Spirit of Shankly, who launched their own consultation last year with 93% in favour, have said they support a full debate.

The Premier League have declined to comment but are known to be concerned at the issue of fans persistently standing in seating areas.

Standing in England’s top two divisions is not permitted, although team winning promotion to the Championship from League One are given three years grace if they have standing areas. However, it is permitted in Scotland and Celtic introduced a 2,600 rail seating area for fans ahead of last season which has proved to be a huge success. It’s pictured here in use for a pre-season friendly in 2016.

The current stance from Government is that there are no plans to introduce standing accommodation at grounds covered by the all seater requirement.

Many of the Premier League clubs are known to favour the introduction of safe standing areas while supporters’ groups across the country have campaigned long and hard for their introduction.

It might only be a small step forward, but each step forward does take us closer to the reality of football fans once more being allowed to stand.

On a personal note, and I think everyone knows, I’m very much in favour and have been for some considerable time and, of course, the problem comes at away games rather than at home. I can’t wait for the day when those who wish to sit can sit and those who wish to stand can stand.

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