In Support Of Leyton Orient And Safe Standing

1 By Ian  |   The Ball  |   March 23, 2011  |     35

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.

Click Here To Sign The Safe Standing Petition

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.

Click here to sign the petition in support of Letyon Orient

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Ian began writing Twohundredpercent in May 2006. He lives in Brighton. He has also written for, amongst others, Pitch Invasion, FC Business Magazine, The Score, When Saturday Comes, Stand Against Modern Football and The Football Supporter. Ian was the first winner of the Socrates Award For Not Being Dead Yet at the 2010 NOPA awards for football bloggers.

  • March 25, 2011 at 5:24 pm


    You say in your piece Re: Leyton Orient that, “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”. I shall, in the interest of fairness atempt to give you that explanation.

    Firstly it may help if I show you the Premier League rule that is in question…I am assured that the Football league rule has very similar wording.

    “5. Each Club shall register its ground with the Secretary and no Club shall remove to another
    ground without first obtaining the written consent of the Board, such consent not to be
    unreasonably withheld.
    6. In considering whether to give any such consent, the Board shall have regard to all the
    circumstances of the case and shall not consent unless reasonably satisfied that such consent:

    6.5 would not adversely affect Clubs (or Football League clubs) having their registered
    grounds in the immediate vicinity of the proposed location; and
    6.6 would enhance the reputation of the League and promote the game of association
    football generally.”

    All rules whether they be Premier league rules, football league rules, the UK tiddly wink association rules, or the rules of your local workingmans club, have two things in common. They have to be lawful, and they have to be used fairly and reasonably. Hence the wording of clause “5” “such consent not to be unreasonably withheld”

    This rule and the football league rule were bought in to try to prevent another Wimbledon to Milton Keynes scenario. Had this rule been in existance at the time Wimbledon could still have relocated their ground to Milton Keynes but without the consent of the football league would have had to go to court if they wished to retain their league status. They would have had to argue that the football league were acting unreasonably in not giving their consent.

    The case of West Ham United’s proposed move to Stratford is totally different. If the Premier league or football league had withheld consent It is doubtful if any court in the land would consider that to be reasonable, and the reason is simple.

    West Ham United bear the name of the London borough where they were formed and have always played. Their current ground at Upton Park is in West Ham (now called Newham), and The Olympic Stadium at Stratford is also in West Ham (Newham). West Ham’s present ground is approx three miles from Leyton Orient, (Which incidently is in The London borough of Waltham Forest). Moving to Stratford will put them approx one mile from Leyton Orient. So to summarize, The Premier league and football league know that it is very unlikely that any court would consider that witholding consent from West Ham when they are proposing to move just two miles from their current home, and remaining within the London borough that bears their name, would be a reasonable implementation of their rules.

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