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Safe standing zones at Wembley for the EFL Carabao Cup final

The EFL Carabao Cup final between Manchester United and Newcastle United on 26 February will have safe standing areas - for the first time in 35 years fans will be able to stand at a Cup final.

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For the first time in over three decades, supporters will be able to cheer on their team at an English domestic Cup final on their feet. The Football League (EFL) announced on Thursday that this month’s EFL Carabao Cup final between Manchester United and Newcastle United will have licensed safe standing areas for both sets of fans. It will be the first time in 35 years that fans can stand rather than sit at a domestic final.

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Wembley Stadium, the venue for the 2022/23 EFL Carabao Cup final on 26 February, has a capacity of 90,000. Licensed standing areas will be located behind each goal, with 867 seats allocated to both United and Newcastle fans in the East and West Stands. “In these areas, fans are allowed to stand for matches in allocated spaces behind a barrier or a rail which prevents them from falling forward,” the EFL said in a statement. “In all other areas of the stadium supporters must remain seated.”

Changes after Hillsborough

Terraces were a feature of English football up until the Hillsborough Stadium disaster in 1989. A total of 97 Liverpool supporters lost their lives, many of them by compression asphyxia after a catalogue of errors, an outmoded stadium design and poor crowd management by local police led to a fatal crush at the Leppings Lane end during the 1989 FA Cup semi-final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest. The tragedy prompted safety revisions at all grounds in England’s top divisions - some stadiums, particularly the older ones, were found to be hazardous. Following the Lord Justice Taylor report, all stadiums in England’s top two divisions were obliged to become all-seater with terraces and perimeter fencing removed by August 1994.

Last summer, the UK government announced that Premier League and Championship clubs would be able to introduce safe standing areas at their stadiums from the start of the 2022/23 season. The decision followed a five-month trial where clubs including Cardiff City, Chelsea, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham offered licensed standing in designated seated areas for home and away fans. The government added that more British football clubs were to follow suit by adopting safe standing zones within their stadiums.


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