Arsène Wenger has given his support to a campaign to introduce safe standing into English football.
No apologies for tweeting this again. Please, please, please RT the petition and sign it. Just over 70,000 signatures away from a Safe Standing debate in Parliament. If twitter & football fans work their magic, we could do this overnight! https://t.co/O0EN69KEH4— FSF Faircop (@FSF_FairCop) April 12, 2018
Premier League strugglers West Brom bidded to launch a pilot scheme for safe standing, however their attempts were rejected by the UK's Minister for Sport and Civil Society, Tracey Crouch. The minister has been criticised by Peter Daykin of the Football Supporters' Federation, who said (via BBC Sport) that Crouch was 'declaring war on fans'.
Celtic have successfully launched a safe standing area at their Parkhead stadium, but the success of this scheme has not been enough to convince the UK government that it should be introduced south of the border.
The Premier League have supported the government's decision, although the campaign is supported by the EFL. When asked about the topic, Wenger explained why he backs the cause so passionately.
“I am in favour personally," he said. "The atmosphere is much better when people stand. The closer you are to the position of the player, the more supportive you are. You imagine that if people were lying in a bed watching the game, they could fall asleep sometimes so it is better that they stand up.
"I think as well it is a tradition of English football to have that. Overall I must say it is much better. There are safety reasons why they don't do it and I can understand that. But if the safety is right, it has my 100% backing.”
West Brom planned to introduce 3,600 rail seats at the Hawthorns in an attempt to combat persistent standing at their stadium. Their unsuccessful bid will surely open up a national debate on the topic, which will be worth keeping a close eye on.