Safe standing: Majority of fans want choice, according to an EFL survey

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A large majority of fans want the choice of safe standing in football stadiums and almost half say they would go to more matches as a result, according to an English Football League survey of more than 33,000 people.

In total, 94% of respondents want to choose between sitting and standing in safe, licensed areas.

Safe standing was most popular with those aged between 18 and 34.

The EFL says the survey will "inform" this month's debate in Parliament.

After 110,000 people signed a petition on safe standing in the Premier League and Championship, a debate at Westminster on the subject in England's top two divisions was triggered for 25 June.

Overall, the EFL's survey - said to have received the highest response of any of their campaigns - showed that 69% of the 33,000 would prefer to stand, while 22% would rather be seated.

Standing in English football's top two divisions was outlawed by the Football Spectators' Act in 1989.

It came following recommendations made in the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.

Earlier this year, the government said there were no plans to change the all-seater policy after West Brom had a safe standing proposal rejected.

In April, the Premier League asked for more evidence before it could be allowed at top-flight stadiums.

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The EFL survey was undertaken in conjunction with the Football Supporters' Federation and is said to have been "specifically designed to fully understand the views of fans of EFL clubs".

The Football Supporters' Federation recently said that sports minister Tracey Crouch was "declaring war on fans" by turning down safe standing.

EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey said the findings of their survey showed that a change in legislation could also help clubs "increase revenue from gate receipts".

"We stated at the outset that we wanted this survey to provide government with a clear indication of the strength of feeling amongst those supporters who attend matches every season," said Harvey.

"The response could not be clearer.

"With nearly half of all fans claiming they would attend more games if licensed standing was available, this campaign demonstrates how standing could play a significant role in boosting attendances, particularly with the under-35s demographic - a group of supporters that have a significant number of other options to consider when determining whether they will or will not attend a match."

Sports minister Crouch has previously said she was "grateful" for fans "expressing their views on this issue".

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