Letter: Soccer terraces can now be safe

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The Independent Online
Soccer terraces

can now be safe

Sir: Your leading article of 21 January prompts me to put the case for safe terracing at some soccer grounds.

When Lord Justice Taylor condemned standing terrace areas and introduced all-seated stadiums he was right. As the then chairman of the All-Party Football Committee, I led a deputation to him to stress this. However, at that time, British engineers at NNC had not developed a revolutionary crowd monitoring system which electronically measures pressure on terrace barriers during a game.

In 1993 I was informed of this development, and went to see it. In February 1994, I took the Sports Minister, Iain Sproat, and he too was impressed. However, we both recognised that the time for Premier League clubs to consider this scheme had passed, and it went on to a back burner.

Since that time the pressure to reopen the debate has come from football supporters. Many complain about the lack of atmosphere at some of our finest stadiums, the reduced capacity and high prices for tickets.

The Labour Party's proposed Task Force for football will give supporters a voice at the very top of the football hierarchy. Issues such as this deserve to be considered.

Terracing will only be considered once the safety question is proved. No responsible government would preside over a return to the kind of terraced accommodation that cost so many lives at Hillsborough.

TOM PENDRY MP

(Stalybridge and Hyde, Lab)

Shadow Minister for Sport

House of Commons

London SW1

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