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Friday, December 28, 2012
Sunderland ban fans over standing

Kristan Heneage

Sunderland have taped up the seats of fans who have persistently refused to sit down during games at the Stadium of Light this season.

The situation escalated on Wednesday in the 1-0 win over Manchester City when the seats of 38 fans had been taped up with a sign that read: "This season card has been suspended due to persistent standing."

Speaking recently, Head of safety and security Paul Weir said the club hold a legal obligation to enforce the laws on standing at football matches.

"We certainly don't wish to spoil the enjoyment of any supporters," he said. "We want a vibrant lively matchday atmosphere just as much as the fans do, but we also have legal obligations that we must be seen to be adhering to.

"We also have a duty of care to all of our supporters, including elderly and disabled fans who have contacted us very concerned that their enjoyment on a matchday is being compromised because people around them stand throughout the game.

"Naturally we want to ensure a safe, comfortable and enjoyable experience for everyone at the Stadium of Light and we'd ask supporters to listen to requests from stewards and help us to eradicate persistent standing for the sake of all fans."

A statement on the club's website had already claimed an 'increasing number of complaints', from those in the South Stand, citing an inhibited experience due to persistent standing throughout the 90 minutes. It remains unclear whether those ejected will be allowed to return to the stadium.

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