We have a quick word this evening for the Football Supporters Federation and two petitions that they have organised for campaigns that they are supporting. First up is safe standing at football matches. Since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and the subsequent Taylor Report, terracing at football grounds has been largely phased out. The Taylor Report, however, didn’t state that terracing was intrinsically unsafe and it could even be argued that it has been used by bigger clubs to artificially inflate ticket prices. Safe standing works perfectly well in Germany, a model of how to run the game in so many ways, and there is nothing inherently unsafe about terracing.
With this in mind, Don Foster, the MP for Bath and Co-Chair of the Liberal Democrat Parliamentary Policy Committee on Culture, Olympics, Media and Sport has launched a Safe Standing Bill that is due for its second parliamentary reading in June. The Premier League is against it and the government appears at best lukewarm on the subject, but what slight chance that we might have of changing their minds might come if we, as supporters, can express our support for the bill. The FSF has, therefore, started a petition that you can sign if you agree that we, as supporters, should be given the choice of whether we sit or stand at matches, no matter what league they are in.
Elsewhere, the FSF is also campaigning for Leyton Orient over the decision to award the Olympic Stadium to Leyton Orient. West Ham did not consult their supporters over whether they should go ahead with the move and, in spite of repeated requests from the Supporters Trust at Leyton Orient, nobody has been able to convincingly explain why Premier League and Football League rules regarding one club moving into the immediate vicinity of another have been swept to one side to allow West Ham to move to Stratford. This decision may not mean the immediate closure of the Os, but it can surely only wreak havoc upon any prospects that they might have of building their support in years to come. Leyton Orient Football Club deserves better than the treatment that they have received from all concerned and you can show your support for them by adding your name to the petition in support of them. Remember: there but for the grace of God go the rest of us.
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