Should clubs reintroduce terracing? To stand or not to stand; that is the question

Our friends at She Wore A Yellow Ribbon are soliciting views from their readers about Arsenal's latest communication regarding the heinous crime of standing during football matches, and we at Arsenal Addict would also like to hear your thoughts on the matter.

The full text of the email (and a couple of responses) can be read on She Wore's home page by clicking here, but in a nutshell Arsenal Football Club is warning supporters that their membership could be suspended if they are found to be standing during games.

An email from stadium manager John Beattie claims the reasons for the sit-on-your-bum policy are three-fold:

  1. The club must be able to prove it can control the crowd, otherwise it could lose its safety certificate and the stadium would be forced to close
  2. The comfort and welfare of other supporters
  3. Safety
Now far be it from me to rock the boat, but surely in this day and age there is the technology - not to mention the common sense - to come up with simple solutions that would keep all of us paying customers happy.

One respondee to She Wore's article points out that those who frequent the Red Action area of the stadium, as well as the visiting supporters, seem to be immune to the Thou Shalt Not Stand commandment, which makes a mockery of the rule. Another freakishly tall supporter questions the comfort and safety elements of Mr Beattie's reasoning and while I have less sympathy for that lofty argument, I don't see why clubs can't offer supporters specific standing areas at stadia.

The whole concept of all-seated grounds was introduced to prevent tragedies such as the Hillsborough disaster, but safety measures have moved on in the past couple of decades and I'm happy to say the crowd trouble that marred the game has now all but disappeared.

So why not provide an area in the stadium where fans could stand?

It wouldn't take a rocket scientist to design a system of anti-crush barriers, spaced every three or four steps apart - or even every step - to provide a safe environment for fans and prevent the sways that caused injury in the past. Not only would standing areas allow the more passionate fans to have a zone where the could lead the chorus, but it would also allow clubs to increase capacities by getting rid of space consuming seating.

It's 2008, so maybe it's time to have a serious debate about such issues as good old fashioned terracing. As a result, I'd love to hear your views on this - especially if you live overseas and attend sporting arenas where fans are allowed to stand. Or if you have a better idea on how to address safety concerns, share it here. Indeed, if you're vehemently against the idea of supporters standing at games, tell us why using the comments section below.