Sunderland to create safe-standing areas at Stadium of Light

Sunderland to create safe-standing areas at Stadium of Light

19 March 2024 0 By Total Football News
Sunderland fans stand on the old Fulwell End at Roker Park
Sunderland fans have not had a standing area since leaving the old Roker Park for the Stadium of Light in 1997

Sunderland will introduce two safe-standing areas as part of a “multi-million pound investment” at the Stadium of Light for next season.

The Wearsiders will turn over 2,000 seats at the Roker End and another 1,000 in the upper North Stand into standing spaces for supporters.

Clubs were permitted safe-standing sections from the start of the 2022-23 season, after legislation changes.

However, strict criteria around safety must be met to achieve a licence.

These include increased closed-circuit television capability, advanced steward training and the imposing of a strict ‘one space, one person’ rule.

Previously, in the wake of the Hillsborough disaster in which 97 Liverpool supporters died after a crush at the terraced, standing Leppings Lane end in the 1989 FA Cup semi-final, clubs in the top two divisions were required to have all-seater stadiums.

‘Dramatic shift’

Also included in the overhaul of Sunderland’s stadium will be undersoil heating and a “state of the art” playing surface to be installed after previous pitch issues.

Floodlights will also be upgraded, along with a new public address system.

“We’re delighted to announce that we are continuing a significant period of investment to develop the Stadium of Light, with the next phase set to complete before the start of the new season,” said chairman Kyril Louis-Dreyfus.

“These upgrades signify a dramatic shift in our approach to matchday experience and each development will bring lasting benefits to our loyal supporters.

“The improvements we are making will enhance matchday now and in the future, and we can’t wait to experience them side by side with our fans when we return to the Stadium of Light for the new season.”

Sunderland say they will be in contact with supporters who will be affected by the switch to standing positions and will be “engaging with the Supporters’ Collective” to discuss other areas of the stadium requiring upkeep.

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