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Watford one of the clubs open to the idea of safe standing at football grounds
6:17pm Tuesday 11th December 2012 in Sport
Watford are one of the clubs who are open to the idea of 'safe standing' being implemented in English football, the Football Supporters' Federation has claimed.
The FSF have described the Hornets as "supporters" of safe standing but we understand that a fairer reflection of the club's stance is that they are open to the idea of safe standing, so neither for or against it at present.
Standing at the highest level of English football was stopped after the Taylor Report was published in the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster.
This led to clubs in the top two divisions being forced to refurbish or rebuild their stadia to make them safer, which included all-seater stadiums.
A case for 'safe standing' was presented in Westminster today, with Aston Villa chief executive Paul Faulkner and West Midlands Police Force Superintendent Steve Graham among those on the panel making the argument.
Football Supporters' Federation's safe standing co-ordinator, Peter Daykin, told BBC Sport: "We need to find out if it can work and the only way to do that is to trial it.
"The debate about standing has reached a point where both sides are entrenched.
"The bottom line is things have changed dramatically since 23 years ago when the Taylor Report was produced.
"Things have moved on massively in terms of technology and know-how around safety in football grounds."
Mr Daykin added: "What we are calling for is a number of small-scale trials at Premier League clubs up and down the country.
"Then experts, safety officers and the police can see how it works in a modern context."
Margaret Aspinall, the chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group and whose son died at Hillsborough had this to say on the matter: "There are 96 reasons why it should not be allowed.
"Standing should never, ever come back. I do not think there is anything safe about standing.
"I feel insulted that people are trying to fight for justice for Hillsborough while this campaign is growing."
The 13 English league clubs who the FSF claim support safe standing are Aston Villa, Brentford, Bristol City, Burnley, Cardiff City, Crystal Palace, Derby County, Doncaster Rovers, Hull City, Peterborough United, Plymouth Argyle, Watford and AFC Wimbledon.
The proposal is to introduce 'rail seats' in a section of some Premier League grounds as part of a trial. Such seats are currently used in other European countries like Germany and they have a safety barrier and a flip-down seat on every other row.
The seats can be locked in an upright position, meaning two rows of supporters can stand in between the barriers, which it is claimed reduces the danger of a crush. And they can become all-seater venues when required.