April 9, 2018 / 2:34 PM / 11 days ago

Soccer: West Brom to appeal against safe-standing rejection

LONDON (Reuters) - West Bromwich Albion expressed disappointment and surprise on Monday after an application to introduce a safe-standing section at their Hawthorns ground was rejected by the British government.

The Premier League club said they had written back requesting a review of the decision taken by Sports Minister Tracey Crouch.

“I think the Minister has taken a short-sighted view and is preventing the club from creating a safer environment for supporters,” director of operations Mark Miles said on the Baggies’ website (www.wba.co.uk).

“The all-seater policy was developed over 25 years ago and football is a very different place now.

“The system we proposed is well-tested across Europe and has also worked successfully at Celtic, who are governed by different legislation than in England and Wales.”

English clubs are legally required to have all-seater grounds since the 1990 Taylor Report into the 1989 Hillsborough stadium disaster, in which 96 Liverpool supporters died, recommended the change.

The league’s governing body is keen on re-opening discussions about the matter, however.

West Brom had offered to run a pilot scheme in the Smethwick End for home and away fans from the 2018-19 season, with the formal application submitted last October.

“Mark had proposed to install ‘rail-seating’ across the Smethwick in the belief that it would be safer for fans in a section of the stadium where persistent standing is a problem,” said the club.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Christian Radnedge

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