• Premier League

Aston Villa declare interest in stadium standing

ESPN staff
February 12, 2014
Villa Park could trial "rail seats" © PA Photos

Aston Villa claim that "seven or eight clubs" in the Premier League are interested in reintroducing standing for supporters at their stadiums.

League One side Bristol City are planning on becoming the first club in the country to install "rail seats," which can either be locked or unlocked to create a seated or standing area inside a ground.

The seats, which have been a success in the Bundesliga, cannot currently be used in English football, but will initially be used for Bristol Rugby Club's games at Ashton Gate.

Villa say they are willing to trial "rail seats" at Villa Park, while the club's football operations manager Lee Preece believes other teams could be willing to do the same.

He told BBC Sport: "We'd be interested in a trial at Villa Park if that would help. We've identified areas we could use for a small-scale trial so the rest of football could see if it works within a Premier League environment."

He added: "There's at least seven or eight clubs that have come forward to say they are also interested in furthering the debate. The desire to further the debate is moving quickly.

"But we're keen to support the Football Supporters' Federation and advance the debate so we can get to the point where we can decide if we're going to do this or not.

"The supporters will see the benefits of their own matchday experience in terms of atmosphere. For us as a club, perhaps the biggest advantage is around the issue of fans standing in areas that are licensed for seating only."

Standing is allowed in League One and League Two, but not in the Premier League or at Championship grounds where clubs have played in the second tier for at least three seasons.

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