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Wolves trial the RailSeat

Ferco Seating is delighted to be supporting Wolverhampton Wanderers as they pilot seats incorporating barriers at Molineux.

As expert manufacturers and installers of over 17,000 RailSeat’s across Europe, the club approached Ferco to install two types of their seats incorporating barriers into a disused block of the Billy Wright Stand. The club is one of the first Premier League stadiums to pilot a selection of seating options that could be used for safe-standing should government legislation on all-seater stadiums change.

Ferco’s RailSeat and RailSeat 2 are two of several seating solutions Wolves have chosen to showcase to their Safety Advisory Group and members of their Fan’s Parliament.

The latest edition of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority’s Green Guide published last year included official guidance on the use of ‘seats incorporating barriers’. Although current government policy prevents any club in the top two tiers of English football from providing standing only areas for fans they can, providing that certain strict conditions are met, install both independent barriers and seats incorporating barriers and be considered compliant with the all-seater policy.

A government review is currently taking place, with the hope that every club should be free to choose whether to offer fans the choice to sit or stand.

Wolves Keen To Explore Safe-Standing At Molineux

Last season Wolves managing director Laurie Dalrymple confirmed the club’s interest in Molineux being utilised for any future safe-standing pilot scheme, and was delighted to be able to offer the SAG and supporters the chance to preview potential seating solutions of the future.

Dalrymple said: “As a club we are keen to be at the forefront of innovation and progression, so the opportunity to install these examples of potential safe-standing solutions was one that we were very happy to explore.

“Whilst the seats themselves will not be operational or used at matches, we are now able to give our Fan’s Parliament group and local authority the opportunity to view all the options before some of these solutions become commonplace in UK stadiums.

“We are now actively working on plans regarding the development and expansion of Molineux in line with the club’s ambitions on and off the pitch, and we see this as another example of how we plan to meet supporters’ expectations and desires as we deliver a stadium that meets all of our requirements.”

Safe-standing campaigner Jon Darch said: “It is fitting that Molineux should be the first operational stadium in the Premier League to install rail-seating as it was the first ground I took the Safe Standing Roadshow to in 2011, for a presentation to the Fans’ Parliament.

“We anticipate that in the future Safety Advisory Groups will be looking closely at clubs with areas of persistent standing, and will most likely encourage them to enhance spectator safety in those areas by installing rail seats like those now on show at Molineux.

“I also anticipate that in time legislation will change to allow clubs to operate areas fitted with such seating as formal standing areas. That could potentially happen this year.”

Safety as a Design Priority

The topic of safe standing areas remains a sensitive one, and understandably so given the events of the past; however engineering, technology, design and attitudes have all come a long way since the dark days of the overcrowded terraces and stalls of the 70s and 80s.

During the aftermath of the Hillsborough disaster, all-seater stadiums were the safest option with the available technology of the time. Almost three decades later, stadium design and technology has evolved considerably in terms of safety and comfort, with the introduction of the RailSeat, a safe, modern alternative which has allowed fans to stand once more.

The RailSeat

The RailSeat was developed by Ferco in response to the high demand from football fans for a return to standing sections, it has been approved by both UEFA and FIFA for use in safe standing areas. Its flexible design allows it to be easily converted into a seated area to meet UEFA standards – providing clubs with much needed flexibility.

RailSeat_1

Barrier technology is core to its design with each seat incorporated into a strong metal frame, providing a robust seat and a high back, which forms a sturdy and continuous handrail to facilitate safe standing – the high strength rail also provides a protective barrier which prevents spectators from falling or pushing those in front of them.

A More Atmospheric Experience

Many avid football fans are campaigning for safe standing – they view standing as part of the overall stadium experience and complain that the all-seater stadium lacks in spirit and vibrance. These fans wish to see a return to the fun and excitement of being able to stand, of what they see as a uniquely atmospheric way of supporting their team.

For more information about seats incorporating barriers, please contact the office by email or ring 01743 761244 

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