Chelsea to adopt safe standing at Stamford Bridge from January

The other clubs approved as early adopters are Cardiff City, Manchester City, Manchester United and Tottenham Hotspur.

This is a historic change of policy to allow standing in top-flight football grounds in England and Wales for the first time in nearly 30 years.

The introduction of licensed standing areas is based on evidence of a safety risk for fans who persistently stand in seated areas. In addition, many fans want the choice to stand and, with the advent of new engineering solutions, the SGSA’s research has shown this can be managed safely.

Chelsea FC has already installed rail seating to areas at Stamford Bridge to facilitate safe standing.

Chief executive Guy Laurence said: ‘We are very pleased that we have been approved to operate licensed safe standing areas and that our club will be an early adopter of this historic change in policy. The research and evidence shows that standing can be managed safely, and we look forward to our supporters enjoying this enhanced experience at the earliest opportunity in the new year.’

The early adopters will be evaluated from the 1 January through independent research and the findings, anticipated in the second half of the 21/22 season, will inform subsequent SGSA advice to the Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) about the potential wider roll out of licensed standing from the start of next season.