Bundesliga clubs to benefit from UEFA’s safe standing trial

Bundesliga clubs in the Champions League, Europa League and Conference League will benefit from UEFA’s safe standing trial in the 2022/23 season.

Borussia Dortmund take on FC Copenhagen at home at 1845 CET in Group G on Tuesday, a group they share with Sevilla and Manchester City.

The ban was introduced by UEFA in 1998 following crowd incidents like the 1985 European Cup final between Juventus and Liverpool in which 39 fans lost their lives or the 1989 Hillsborough FA Cup semi final between Liverpool and Nottingham Forest which resulted in the death of 97 Liverpool fans. Nineteen fans also died at Furiani stadium during the French Cup final between SC Bastia and Olympique Marseilles in 1992.

The ruling will also benefit other Bundesliga clubs like Union Berlin who will be permitted to hold their Europa League matches for the first time at the club’s 22,100 capacity Stadion An der Alten Försterei.

The trial, which also includes France’s Ligue 1 and England’s Premier League is being rolled out on a trial basis for one year. Standing sections have always been a very important part of the stadium experience and have generally attracted the most committed and vociferous fans such as the ultras in the 26,000 south stand in the Signal-Iduna Park stadium in Dortmund, known as the ‘Südtribüne’.

FC Köln’s Rhein-Energie Stadion will increase capacity from 45,500 to 50,000, Freiburg’s new Europa-Park Stadium will be able to utilise a capacity of 34,700 including the 12,400 in the standing areas. RB Leipzig’s Red Bull Arena will increase their capacity by 4,469.

Eintracht Frankfurt meanwhile will be able to offer an additional 9,300 places in the Deutsche Bank Park. The capacity of Bayern Munich’s Allianz Arena is restricted to 70,000 for international matches but will be at the full capacity of 75,024 as a result of the trial.  

The history of safe standing goes back to the origins of professional football in the nineteenth century. Originally a section of the stadium where low cost tickets could be bought, the stands soon became ‘the’ place with the best atmosphere.

But why is standing so important to the fans? This excellent video from our friends at Copa90 highlights some of the history and controversy and what this season’s trial could bring.

Ben McFadyean

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