Following Spirit of Shankly’s consultations and discussions on rail seating, members and supporters have been voting for the past week. They were asked whether they are in favour, against or undecided on the introduction of rail-seating areas in football grounds.
17,910 supporters took part in the vote. Voting was open 22 – 28 July.
On the introduction of rail seating areas in football stadiums, are you?
In favour: 88.21%
Don’t know enough / want to know more: 4.8%
Voting among Spirit of Shankly members was broadly similar:
In favour: 88.8%
Don’t know enough / want to know more: 2.9%
As a result, Spirit of Shankly’s policy and position is in favour of the introduction of rail-seating areas.
What the result means
Almost 18,000 supporters – an unprecedented number in football supporter surveys of this type – took part in our dialogue and gave their views on rail seating. Spirit Of Shankly would like to thank all those who participated so that supporters could make an informed decision.
We would like to thank in particular the Hillsborough Family Support Group, Hillsborough Justice Campaign, and all the survivors and families of those at Hillsborough. Many shared personal experiences, something a number of them have done rarely since 1989. We are humbled that they felt able to do so with us, and we thank them sincerely for informing this debate. We do and always will retain the utmost respect for their views.
Spirit of Shankly’s future policy and position follows a sensitive, sensible, honest and mature conversation, throughout which key themes emerged: a choice for supporters between sitting and standing; safety for those who currently stand at games; and the safety of any future standing model. Contributions from our panel, including representatives from the Sports Ground Safety Authority and Celtic FC, expertly addressed these matters.
Such a turnout and overwhelming majority in favour of rail seating cannot be ignored. It was always our intention to ensure all supporters had an opportunity to contribute, listen to differing views and then decide. This has now happened.
We realise the significance of this vote both locally and in the wider debate nationally. From when discussions of rail seating first began, Liverpool supporters and Hillsborough have been referenced both as a reason not to do it, or as a possible turning point that would allow its introduction.
Now, our views are known and we urge everyone to digest and understand the sensitivities and detail behind the outcome.
Our voice and views should not be misused, misrepresented or misappropriated by anyone. We will not allow that.
No one has ‘won’. There are no winners or losers. There may be disagreement with views on either side, but we gave everyone an opportunity to have their say and ask their questions. To those who cannot understand this, we urge them to consider the experiences and heartache that many have felt and experienced during this time.
We would encourage those campaigning for the introduction of rail-seating areas to ensure that all views are heard and to ensure the questions and concerns of those opposed are addressed. To this end we offer an open invitation for any campaign or group to engage with us regarding these results so that they are interpreted in a full and proper manner.
We emphasise that this remains the first step for Liverpool supporters, not the conclusion. The outcome of this is not a call for rail seating to be introduced at Anfield. We will have further consultation with families, survivors, members, supporters and LFC in due course but for now, we will take time to digest the result and reflect on what it means.