Uefa keeps open mind on standing

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The Independent Online

Uefa is to consider possible exceptions to its ban on standing areas at stadiums hosting European matches. The European governing body's president, Michel Platini, met fans from across the continent on Tuesday, and German supporters put forward a case for allowing safe standing areas, using the example of Werder Bremen, who have constructed a standing area in their stadium.

William Gaillard, Uefa's communications director, said the ban on standing still applies but they were prepared to look at new designs in the future. Gaillard said: "There are some stadia in Germany that have standing areas which the public authorities say are safe. These are nothing like the old terraces, and it can be argued that they are much safer than having fans standing in seated areas as often happens.

"We have told the fans that we are open to dialogue and would look at any new designs. In the future we are always ready, together with Fifa [the world governing body], to look at the options but at the moment we feel sitting is a much better way to watch football."

The meeting in Nyon, Switzerland, involved fans' representatives from England, Scotland, Germany, France, Spain, Italy and Denmark, and the Supporters Direct organisations from the United Kingdom and Germany.

Platini also promised to pass on to football rulemakers calls to use video evidence to punish players who dive after representations from Scottish fans.

Fifa only allows video evidence to be used in instances where the referee has not seen an incident, rather than to correct his judgement. Gaillard added: "There were suggestions for changes to the laws which we will relay to the International FA Board."

Spanish fans called for half-time intervals to be extended to 20 minutes to allow more time for supporters to use toilet facilities but Uefa said that would have implications for players getting too cold.

All the fans' groups welcomed Platini's initiative in having the Champions League final held on a Saturday from 2010.

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