Message On Standing

MANY supporters will be aware of the pressures the local authority, the Safety Advisory Group and the Football Licensing Authority have been exerting on the Club to ensure supporters remain seated.

All clubs' safety certificates are issued by the respective local authority, in West Ham United's case Newham Council, and the wording is quite specific. The onus is on the host club to ensure supporters remain seated and the local Safety Advisory Group has the power to reduce capacity should the club fail to meet this requirement.

To assist in their deliberations the authorities collate information on the behaviour of supporters at every match throughout the season. Clubs are required after every match to submit a report to the Football Licensing Authority detailing a range of information, including the behaviour of supporters and whether or not they remained seated during the match.

This information is retained centrally by the respective local Safety Advisory Groups, who meet regularly to assess behaviour patterns and impose restrictions, which include reductions in capacity where necessary.

Last season West Ham United was subject to reductions in its away ticket allocation for some matches, including Sunderland, whose Safety Advisory Group reacted to patterns of supporter behaviour by advising the club to reduce capacity for West Ham United's away supporters.

The good news here is that the behaviour of our supporters was monitored at last year's match at the Stadium of Light and thanks to their co-operation with Sunderland police and stewards our allocation has been increased to 2000 for this year's match.

The Sunderland chief executive has written to Paul Aldridge asking the Club to encourage our supporters to abide by the ground regulations, not to persistently stand and co-operate as we did last season.

Regrettably, the information on the behaviour of our away supporters at the recent away games against Newcastle and Fulham is not so good and the match with Sunderland is a great opportunity for our vast number of travelling supporters to respond to this request.

This season our away support has been brilliant and the manager and players have been overwhelmed by the tremendous backing they have received at the away games against Newcastle, Fulham and Sheffield Wednesday, as well as the magnificent support West Ham United continue to enjoy at home games.

At Upton Park we are more closely monitored, and in the past two seasons have introduced measures including the deployment of additional stewards and the introduction of the Access Control System to combat persistent standing.

We have not achieved 100 per cent success, but the authorities have recognised our progress and chosen not to reduce the capacity.

The Access Control System, which was used in the Bobby Moore Lower with great success last season, has now been deployed throughout the Stadium. This system, along with the excellent CCTV coverage, allows the Club to identify and take action against those supporters who refuse to remain seated during matches. Supporters will be warned upon entry to the Stadium about their behaviour and if they continue to persistently stand they will be refused further entry to Upton Park.

The authorities will be continuing to monitor our performance on supporter behaviour this season and hopefully we can continue to build on the achievements of last season, both at home and away.