Tottenham Hotspur has revealed the design of seating areas that have been future-proofed for safe standing within its new 62,000 capacity stadium, set to open later this year.
Yesterday, cross-party MPs debated the issue in Parliament on whether all clubs, regardless of the division they play in, should have the ability to offer fans the choice in terms of whether to sit or stand while they watch their football team play.
The club has put itself at the forefront of this debate with a unique design for its new stadium that offers optionality and flexibility.
Areas at the front of the stadium’s new 17,500 capacity single-tier South Stand, as well as in the visiting supporters’ section, have been future-proofed for safe standing – both are areas where the club had issues with persistent standing when at its former White Hart Lane home.
Although ‘rail seating’ is used extensively in Germany and at Celtic Park in Scotland, the club has created a different, improved design that doesn’t compromise comfort.
The club is proposing a purpose-designed ‘safe seating’ concept whereby safety and spectator comfort are given equal precedence, using the same moulded seats as in the rest of the general admission areas.
These seats provide the same comfort and leg room as in all other areas of the stadium, with an ergonomically profiled bar set at 900mm for clear sightlines.
The seat in its folded position is slim, allowing the stepping clearway to be maximised, with a purpose-designed lock to ensure the seat can be stowed when required.
Furthermore, the club has made its Season Ticket Holders aware of the potential for safe standing when purchasing seats within the future-proofed areas.
Donna-Maria Cullen, Executive Director, Tottenham Hotspur, said: “As a club, we did not engage on this until the Hillsborough Inquiry was concluded, which showed that the tragedy in April 1989 had not been caused by standing.
“We then conducted research with our fan base which showed overwhelming support for safe standing. The main reasons given were choice and atmosphere – fans cannot sing sitting down.
“So, at our new stadium, we have designed a section within the home area and within the away section that has an integrated safety bar with the normal seating. Fans have bought season tickets for the home area in the knowledge that, should the law change, this would be our standing area – it was one of the first areas to sell out.
“Importantly, it is a new design which incorporates the same appearance and comfort as all other seats within the stadium.
“In the meantime, without any change in the law, our design delivers a safer environment should there be persistent standing.”
Jon Babbs, Stadium Director, Tottenham Hotspur, said: “Our design ensures that, regardless of the law changing, only one fan per seat will be permitted within the future-proofed areas.
“This, along with the enhanced clearways and integrated bar, provides improved safety should fans stand during games.”
Martin Cloake, Co-Chair, Tottenham Hotspur Supporters’ Trust, said: “We’re proud the Club is leading the way by proposing an innovative design concept that takes into account what fans have been asking for. Our latest survey is showing support at 88% in favour of safe standing.”