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Campaign groups divided on fans standing; Concerns at push to bring back terraces.

Byline: JOE THOMAS @joe_thomas18

HILLSBOROUGH campaigners expressed mixed views over potential plans to bring back standing areas at British football matches.

Campaign groups said the return of standing would undermine efforts that have improved safety at matches since the Hillsborough tragedy.

But the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, which represents a number of families as well as survivors of the 1989 tragedy, said it was their belief that standing was not the main factor behind the disaster - promising they would not let the latest standing bid distract from their fight for justice.

The Football League sent a consultation paper to its 72 member clubs on Friday to seek their views on standing at games.

While standing is allowed at matches in Leagues One and Two, clubs in the Championship must have all-seater stadium after playing at that level for three seasons The opinion-finding mission by the Football League, which draws its members from the three DEBATE: look years leagues beneath the Premier League, comes after requests from clubs for more information about standing at games.

Margaret Aspinall, chair of the Hillsborough Family Support Group, warned clubs they would be putting fans' lives at risks by seeking the laws on standing to be relaxed.

She told the ECHO: "My thoughts are the same as they have always been. Our group has always said it would stand firm on this - we don't believe in standing whatsoever and we will always argue against it.

"I don't want to be the one in a few years' time down the line, if standing is brought back, to be the one to say 'I told you so'.

"That could happen, I don't know why they want to take 10 steps backwards."

Ms Aspinall, whose son James died in the tragedy, added there were several incidents before the disaster which highlighted the dangers of standing areas and that lives have been saved by the introduction of all-seater stadium in the Premier League - where they have been compulsory for almost 20 years.

She said: "I would call on the Football League to stand firm on this and not cave in. Look at the lives, I'm not talking about money, lives are more important than any amount of money. There's no second chance with your life. I know what it's like to lose a son and I don't want any other family to go through what I went through."

could " Sheila Coleman, from the Hillsborough Justice Campaign, expressed a slightly different view - saying that the HJC had never adopted a stance on standing at football matches and making clear her belief that standing areas were not the main cause of the Hillsborough disaster.

She said: "We don't want the standing issue to be used as a diversion from the investigations that are ongoing at the moment.

"We need to be clear standing didn't kill people at Hillsborough, it was other factors. Our main focus will be challenging the establishment."

CAPTION(S):

DEBATE: A model of how safe standing could look was demonstrated in Liverpool two years ago

AGAINST: Margaret Aspinall

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Dec 30, 2013
Words:510
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