How the Bundesliga is better: safe standing

Posted: January 31, 2012 in Bundesliga, Germany, How the bundesliga is better
Tags: , , , , ,

Fans standing - safely - at Dortmund's Westfalenstadion

As calls for safe standing in England get louder, the people at whose feet the decision ultimately lies could do with taking a look at the Bundesliga.

In 1993, the German Football Federation decided against all-seater stadiums, and now the vast majority of Bundesliga clubs have safe standing areas in their stadiums.

Since the Taylor report into the Hillsbrough disaster, all clubs in the top two levels of English football have been required to have all-seater stadiums. This even means that any team who have standing areas, and are then promoted to the Championship, would have to convert their stadium to all-seating.

Bundesliga stadiums feature ‘rail-seating’, called ‘vario’ seats. These are locked in an upright position for Bundesliga matches, but are then brought down for matches in the Champions or Europa League etc – as FIFA and Uefa both recquire stadiums for their competitions to be all-seater.

Andy Hudson, editor of European football website Gannin’ Away, explained this further. He said: “There are metal barriers situated at regular intervals on the terracing. This removes huge gaps of open terracing that many people remember from UK football grounds. As a result of the barriers, there are never too many fans squeezed into a confined space. This eliminates any potential for surges and people tumbling down the terracing.

“Also, ticket numbers are regulated so the standing areas are never full to ‘capacity’. While you could get ‘x’ amount of fans in area, clubs sell less than that volume. This is a practice that’s replicated across many European countries.”

Fans are also allocated a row and a position, which eliminates the theory – and one of the reasons given as to why safe standing has not been implemented in the Premier League – that it’s harder, in standing areas, to identify those causing trouble.

However, despite it being something many fans want – The Football Supporters’ Federation have long campaigned for its introduction – and the obvious benefits (the Bundesliga has higher attendances and a generally better atmosphere at games) it seems unlikely safe standing will be implemented in the Premier League any time soon.

Hillsborough, and the safety of fans, are the excuses given for this. Money, one suspects, is the real reason.


You can follow Andy Hudson on Twitter: @HuddoHudson, and check out his Gannin’ Away website here.

  1. […] standing, written about here, isn’t the only advantage the Bundesliga has over the Premier League when it comes to […]

  2. paul plunkett says:

    Hello,just like to say,i have been to five
    football grounds in the bundesliga,the atmosphere is fantastic thanks to standing areas.Ive been to all the grounds old and new in the english leagues,and there all BORING.Wake up england and bring the good old days of standing back,CHARLIE OF DERBY FC

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