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PREMIER League clubs will get the go-ahead to open safe standing areas in their grounds from the start of the new season.

Ministers are expected to announce the success of a trial at five stadiums – and invite all top-flight teams to introduce their own sections.

1Standing has been illegal in the two top divisions since all-seater stadiums were introduced in 1994 following the Taylor report into the Hillsborough disasterCredit: Rex

It will mean that fans will be able to stand to watch Prem or Championship matches for the first time in nearly 30 years.

Standing has been illegal in the two top divisions since all-seater stadiums were introduced in 1994 following the Taylor report into the Hillsborough disaster.

But following a pilot scheme last season at Chelsea, Spurs, Cardiff City, Man City and Man United, all other top clubs will be give the all clear to follow suit.

A final report on the government-commissioned trial seen by The Sun on Sunday says the sections delivered a positive impact on spectator safety and improved fans’ matchday experience.

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Sports Minister Nigel Huddleston is expected to make the announcement at Tottenham’s White Hart Lane ground where he watched the North London club beat Burnley 1-0 in May. 

A government source said: “We are on the side of fans and determined to deliver on a manifesto commitment to bring safe standing to our grounds and improve the fantastic experience already on offer in the Premier League and Championship. 

“We will never compromise safety and will work with football clubs, supporters groups and the police to deliver the safe standing we know people want.” 

A 2-2 draw in January between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge kicked off the test events.

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Fans were allowed to stand for the whole game in allocated spaces behind a barrier or a rail in areas of persistent standing.

Each supporter had to occupy the same area they would take if they were sitting, with a traceable, numbered ticket. 

Seats could not be locked in the up or down position, so fans could choose to sit if they wished to, and the standing areas could not affect the views of other fans.

Other parts of the grounds remained all-seated and fans were expected to sit in these areas.

An interim report into the trial, published by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority found: 

goal celebrations were more orderly with no forwards or backwards movement of fans.

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Barriers offers stability for people moving up and down aisles and gangways, latecomers could enter their space more quickly and pockets of overcrowding could be identified by officials more easily.

Standing areas are already commonplace in Germany’s Bundesliga and there are similar examples across the rest of Europe, the United States and Australia. 

News Source: the-sun.com

Tags: exclusives football premier league the sun newspaper premier league clubs safe standing first time expected

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Cristiano Ronaldo saga has damaged morale in Man Utd squad but fans should NOT let it tarnish legacy, says Louis Saha

CRISTIANO RONALDO'S desire to leave Manchester United has damaged the morale at Old Trafford.

That is according to his former-team Louis Saha, who played alongside the 37-year-old during his first spell at the club between 2004-2008.

2Louis Saha and Cristiano Ronaldo won two Premier League titles, the Champions League and the League Cup together at Manchester UnitedCredit: Getty - Contributor 2Wantaway Red Devils ace Ronaldo wants to leave the club before the transfer window closesCredit: Reuters

Ronaldo is keen to quit the Red Devils in his quest to play Champions League football this season.

He failed to join the United squad on their pre-season tour of Asia and Australia due to "family reasons", before returning to face Rayo Vallecano earlier this month.

But he caused outrage after leaving ten minutes before the final whistle in the friendly clash - during which he was hooked at half-time.

Despite Anthony Martial nursing a minor injury, he was dropped to the bench for Sunday's 2-1 defeat against Brighton where he came on in the second half.

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Though he could be recalled back to the starting XI after boss Erik ten hag insisted United are better with him on the pitch.

Saha was critical of the five-time Ballon d'Or winner last month, but he has insisted he doesn't want his legacy at the club to be tarnished.

Speaking exclusively to SunSport on behalf of TPP-ThePuntersPage about the transfer saga, the 48-year-old said: "I really don't know with Cristiano Ronaldo.

"I made some comments a few weeks ago saying I was not happy by the fact he's such a big player and such an example for youngsters.

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"He can clearly see that the manager needs to make some strong decisions and I feel he went completely the opposite.

"If you try to bring discipline and he doesn't want to do it or has different ideas, then it's hard and I think he's taken it in a personal way.

"The manager is trying to build a collective and a squad with a foundation and he's being brought into the Cristiano Ronaldo saga every time he speaks.

"It's not an easy situation and I would say that I was on Cristiano's back a bit. The criticism was strong, if he finds a suiter, then ok you can go.

"But if not, then you have to come out and talk; if he wants to leave, he should say it but also say he'll give his 100 per cent to the club if it doesn't happen or until it happens.

"At least then the saga with Cristiano would be over at that point, but we haven't seen this, so I was frustrated as a fan of Manchester United.

"I'm still a huge fan of Cristiano Ronaldo, I love what he has done for the game, and I still admire his talent today because he's still an amazing player.

"But at this moment in time, the talk of his future has been really bad in terms of trying to build a team collective.

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"It doesn't belong to the legacy of Cristiano Ronaldo because he doesn't deserve it.

"For the fans, it's a case of being a bigger fan of the club than it is being a fan of Cristiano Ronaldo which has to be the same for every player."

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