West Brom have had a bid to introduce safe-standing to the Hawthorns next season rejected by the government, it’s been announced.
West Brom, who are bottom of the Premier League and 10 points adrift of safety with five games to play, had hoped to install 3,600 rail seats in the ground’s Smethwick End.
The application was made to the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA), the government agency set up to regulate sports stadia after the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, and it referred the proposal to the Department of Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).
In a statement, the SGSA said the club’s request was rejected by sports minister Tracey Crouch.
“West Brom is subject to the government’s all-seater policy and DCMS have said that they have no current plans to change their position and introduce standing accommodation at grounds in the top two divisions covered by the all-seater policy,” it added.
A DCMS spokesperson confirmed it had “no plans” to change its policy but said it “will continue to monitor the issue of spectator accommodation and the use of safe standing where it is permitted”.
The head of the Football Supporters’ Federation’s safe standing campaign Peter Daykin described the decision as “really disappointing”.
He said on fsf.org.uk: “West Brom have done brilliantly in seeking out a solution that is best for those supporters who want to stand and those who want to sit at The Hawthorns.
“They should be applauded for offering to test technology that has been proven to work so well at Celtic, around Europe and the rest of the world.”