Blues Trust has been invited by the ‘Rail seating project manager’ for Bristol Sport, the umbrella organisation for Bristol City FC and Bristol Rugby Club, to an event at Ashton Gate on February 12th. Paul Smith Board Director will be attending on behalf of the Trust; we would also like to extend the invite to one or two of our members that may be interested.
As you probably know, Bristol Sport submitted plans last year for a major redevelopment of Ashton Gate. With the rugby club due to start playing at the ground from August and with lots of their fans used to standing at their games, the plans include two areas fitted with rail seats. These will enable standing accommodation to be offered for the rugby games, while – pending any changes in the relevant regulations – keeping the ground all-seater for football.
In order to demonstrate precisely what they have in mind, they are installing a small block of rail seating in one of the stands at Ashton Gate. John Leech MP, the spokesman on sport for the Liberal Democrats, whose formal party policy is to support safe standing, will be ‘cutting the ribbon’ at the unveiling of the block on Feb 12th. There will also be a presentation of the plans for Ashton Gate, which were approved by Bristol City Council in November, a buffet lunch and the opportunity to network and discuss the safe standing issue with many interested parties, including, we anticipate, League representatives, safety experts, stadium architects, a rail seating manufacturer and club officials from Football and Premier League clubs keen to offer spectators a choice of accommodation.
Bristol Sport believes that rail seats offer an opportunity for operators of all-seater stadia to provide exceptionally safe areas for standing fans, not just at rugby games, but in the future hopefully at football as well. I and staff from Bristol Sport, Bristol City and Bristol Rugby would be delighted to talk to you more about the stadium plans and let you try out the rail seats for yourself on February 12th.
Following a meeting at the club yesterday BCFC issued the following comment:
“Birmingham City F.C can confirm that the club has expressed support for the introduction of ‘safe standing’ at stadiums following a recent Football League consultation.
The governing body has canvassed all Football League clubs on the topic and, in principle, Birmingham City would support an approach to the Minister for Sport and the Sports Ground Safety Authority to investigate the issue further. “
If you would be interested in attending then please let us know.