The Supporters Club & Trust last week welcomed the renewed commitment from Bristol Sport and Bristol City FC to putting every effort into supporting the Football League in its attempts to secure agreement from the government for the introduction of safe standing at current all-seater football grounds.
We were naturally disappointed that time has caught up with the club and that it has not been possible to gain the necessary consents quickly enough to enable rail seats to be in place when the new South Stand and remodelled Dolman Stand open next August. We had hoped that the authorities would agree that rail seating complied with the legal requirement that Ashton Gate provide “only seated accommodation” and Club & Trust board member Jon Darch produced a detailed report for the authorities on behalf of Bristol Sport, setting out why he believes this to be the case. Had the authorities agreed, this would have permitted the rail seats to be used as standing accommodation for rugby games and as seats for football. Unfortunately, the authorities have still not given a definitive ruling on ‘when a seat is a seat’ and when not, so Bristol Sport had to take the decision that it now has to install conventional seats initially, with a view to retrofitting rail seats as soon as this is allowed.
The Club & Trust remains fully committed to the introduction of safe standing at Ashton Gate at the earliest opportunity and will continue to assist Bristol Sport and Bristol City FC in achieving this shared objective.