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Safe standing campaigners make case to parliamentary football group

The safe standing area at Celtic's Parkhead ground. Photo by Mike Hewitt/Getty Images

The campaign for safe standing in English football has been given a hearing at Parliament after the Football Supporters Federation (FSF) met a group of MPs on Tuesday.

FSF board member Peter Daykin gave a presentation and took questions at a meeting involving around 20 members of the All Party Parliamentary Group for Football Supporters.

Ronnie Hawthorn, the head of safety, security and operations at Celtic, was in attendance to provide information on the success of the club's rail seating at their Parkhead stadium.

The meeting comes a week after the FSF launched a joint initiative with the English Football League (EFL) to survey clubs on the issue of safe standing.

The FSF would like to see a change in legislation to allow clubs to have the option of creating safe standing areas, and Daykin feels the latest meeting was a positive step.

"This isn't something that is going to happen quickly," he told Press Association Sport. "It is something that deserves proper attention and requires robust debate.

"We had about 20 MPs and the level of debate was really interesting. It is absolutely right MPs ask all these questions and we have a safe environment to explore these issues.

"It feels like from within the people who work in football -- safety officers, stewards, police -- there is a coalescence of opinion that something has to change from here and the current legislation isn't working.

"Once we get football talking with one voice then DCMS [the Department for Culture, Media and Sport] and the government really need to start listening to that debate, and it certainly felt like that is what other people felt tonight."

Earlier this month, a petition calling for the return of standing in Premier League and Championship games reached the required number of signatures for MPs to consider a debate in parliament on the matter.