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Safe standing option set to slip into 2020-21 season

Safe standing is unlikely to be introduced into English football before the 2020-21 season with an independent review into the matter currently taking place, according to multiple reports.

UK newspaper the Daily Mail said CFE Research, an independent social research company, is in the midst of conducting a review into all available evidence concerning English football’s current all-seater policy, including changes to seating and stadium design and incidents at stadiums.

The government announced in June that it had commissioned an official review into safe standing at football stadia. Safe standing has been outlawed in the top two leagues of English football since the Hillsborough disaster in 1989, which claimed the lives of 96 Liverpool fans.

The Mail said CFE’s review will not be completed by the end of the year, as had originally been hoped. Any subsequent change to legislation would then take months, meaning it would be unlikely to be in place by the 2019-20 season.

There has been a growing call from fans’ groups, certain clubs and the sport’s authorities for the law to be reassessed. The Premier League, Football Association (FA) and Football League (EFL) are said to be provisionally in favour of the return of standing areas to stadia, if there is evidence that safety and security concerns are met.