Oxford United are looking into the possibility of introducing safe standing at the Kassam Stadium.
The League One club has been investigating whether they can install a safety rail in sections of the East (home) and North (away) stands.
United said that, while there is no timescale on the scheme at the moment, their ‘Ox-Rail’ would be a ‘ground-breaking concept’.
The sections would remain as seated areas but the introduction of an additional safety control measure would prevent the risk of a
progressive crowd collapse by supporters who have chosen to persistently stand.
The club said an ‘overwhelming majority’ of the Oxford United Safety Advisory Group members, including representatives of the emergency services, supported the scheme.
Ian Mixter, head of crowd safety at the U’s, said: “Although a time frame cannot be placed on completion of the project, the next stage will see the installation of a test build of an Ox-Rail, in front of a single row of seats in the East Stand, to allow the
safety barrier to undergo rigorous testing.
“The safety of spectators, both home and away, is paramount and the club is committed to ensuring that this groundbreaking concept complies with the safety standards required by the regulating authorities.”
There will be consultation with supporters, including OxVox and season ticket holders, to ensure that Ox-Rail is safe enough when installed.
Discussions are also ongoing with the Sports Ground Safety Authority to allow the concept to continue within the stadium should the club be promoted to the Championship.
Managing director Niall McWilliams added: “We would love to see Ox-Rails at the stadium and will continue to work with all relevant parties to try and make this happen.”
More than 110,000 people signed a petition earlier this year asking for Premier League and Championship clubs to be allowed to have safe standing at their stadia.
Sports minister Tracey Crouch said football fans ‘have evolved’ since all-seater stadia were introduced, when she was quizzed by MPs on safe-standing earlier this month.
n Oxford United will be heading to Ireland for their pre-season tour, which will include intensive training and three matches.
The dates for the diary are: Monday, July 9 – Portmarnock AFC; Tuesday, July 10 – Longford Town; Wednesday, July 11 – UCD
Oxford United’s pre-season continues to take shape with the announcement of a ‘double-header’ on Saturday, July 14.
The U’s will play two games that day – the day before the World Cup final – playing away at neighbours Oxford City and then away at Hampton and Richmond Borough the same afternoon. The first team will be split in two.