HC Deb 04 June 1992 vol 208 cc601-2W
Mr. Moss

To ask the Secretary of State for National Heritage if there is to be a reconsideration of the policy towards the all-seating requirement at football matches.

Mr. Mellor

The Government keep under continual scrutiny the safety of sports grounds. We continue to support the principles of improved spectator safety and comfort which were set out by Lord Justice Taylor in his final report on the Hillsborough stadium disaster. In recent months we have been examining the all-seating requirement for Football League grounds in the context of the representations that have been made and our concern to ensure the highest standards of safety given all the factors involved, including the size of particular grounds, league status and the financial health of the clubs concerned. However, the safety of our sports grounds must remain paramount.

We have decided that it would be wrong to review either the principle or the timetable for all seating at first division grounds in the Football League, the new premier league. It is essential that our top clubs meet the standards necessary to compete in Europe and make full use of the resources available to them to provide grounds of which we can all be proud. We also remain firmly committed to the principle of all-seating for the great majority of second division clubs.

However, there may be equally compelling reasons not to proceed with an all-seating requirement at all third and fourth division clubs in the Football League. We also need to consider the position of those second division clubs with very low average attendances. Further representations are being invited from a number of interested organisations to assist me in finalising our re-examination of these and related issues. I have set a four-week period for the receipt of these further views and I shall announce my conclusions speedily thereafter.

My right hon. Friend, the Secretary of State for Scotland, will make a separate statement about the position in Scotland.