12 Jun 2015

Celtic to allow standing area for fans

12:00 pm on 12 June 2015

Scottish football champions Celtic have been granted permission to introduce a safe standing area and could become the first top-flight club in Scotland to do so.

Celtic football fans

Celtic football fans Photo: PHOTOSPORT

The rail seating area will initially accommodate up to 2,600 supporters at Celtic Park and be introduced for the 2016-17 season.

Scotland is not bound by the law that banned standing areas in top-flight football in England.

Terraces were banned following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and the issue about whether to allow some standing areas has been revisited since all-seater stadiums became compulsory in England in 1994.

Prior to the merger of the Scottish Premier League with the Scottish Football League to form the Scottish Professional Football League, top-flight clubs were given the all clear to have safe-standing areas within their stadiums.

Dundee United chairman Stephen Thompson announced in February that he planned to invest $400,000 to help United become the first Premiership club to do so.

However, Celtic have been given permission for their plan by Glasgow City Council, which had twice previously rejected applications from the Scottish champions.

The so-called "rail seats" used at many German stadiums, has railings in front of and behind spectators.

The new system is expected to be introduced for domestic league and cup matches from the 2016-17 season.

For UEFA games, the rails will be converted into seats.

All-seater stadiums were introduced to the top divisions in England and Scotland following the Taylor Report into the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 in which 96 Liverpool supporters died.

But despite a campaign supported by many fans in England, the Premier League said it had no plans to copy Celtic.