June 19, 2018 / 2:42 PM / a month ago

Top two English leagues could have safe-standing by 2020-21 - EFL chief

(Reuters) - Safe-standing could be brought back in the Premier League and Championship by the 2020-21 season, English Football League (EFL) chief executive Shaun Harvey said on Tuesday.

The issue will be debated in parliament on June 25 and the EFL has released a video highlighting what it says are the benefits of licensed standing areas and noting 94 percent of fans want the option to choose whether to be seated or standing.

All-seater stadiums became mandatory in England’s top two divisions following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 when 96 Liverpool fans were killed in a crush at an FA Cup semi-final against Nottingham Forest.

“It is realistic to think we could have standing in the top two leagues by the 2020-21 season,” Harvey told reporters.

“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.

“In our view, it is illogical and outdated to continue with the ‘one-size fits all’ approach that has been in operation for the past 30 years.”

Reporting by Anirban Paul in Bengaluru; Editing by Alexandra Hudson

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