Safe standing: EFL chief executive calls for clubs to make their own decisions

Shaun Harvey speaks at a convention in Manchester in September 2017
EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey wants a new approach to safe-standing legislation

Standing could be introduced in the top two leagues of English football by the 2020-21 season, says EFL chief executive Shaun Harvey.

A petition signed by more than 110,000 people triggered a Parliamentary debate on the issue, to be held on 25 June.

And Harvey expects a vote on whether the existing legislation should be changed to take place within 12 months.

He said: "It is realistic to think we could have standing in the top two leagues by the 2020-21 season."

The EFL have released a video called 'Stand up for Change' to promote their stance that clubs should be allowed to decide whether to introduce standing or note.

Harvey says there are "single numbers" of clubs who would say immediately they wished to introduce standing to their grounds should the law be changed but that most had not considered it.

He added that there would be a cost implication but the variables were so great it was impossible to say what that would be.

"The immediate impact would be felt either by clubs promoted to the Championship, who would no longer have three years to turn standing areas into seats to comply with the law," Harvey continued.

The EFL also want to put a cap of 7,500 on the capacity of any terraced area, although clubs could have more than one area should local safety officials allow it.

Harvey said: "We don't want the debate to be lost around a return to 20,000 capacity terraces and this figure would allow disorder issues to be resolved."

In a recent survey run by the EFL, 94% of the 33,000 respondents said fans should be allowed to choose whether they want to stand or sit at games.

"This is not a safety issue as 22 stadiums in the EFL already have standing. And it is not about promoting rail seating over terracing as that is a choice which has to be made at local level," Harvey added.

"It is about standing shoulder to shoulder with government to deliver what the fans want. I will be disappointed if by this time next year there has not been significant movement on this issue."

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