Paul Barber discusses Brighton's safe standing plans to follow Manchester United and Chelsea – Sussex Live

Brighton explored the possibility of installing limited safe standing five years ago and this season Liverpool, Manchester City, and more, have installed ‘safe standing’ areas, with rail seating
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Brighton CEO Paul Barber says it is possible the Amex could introduce safe standing but it may reduce the stadium's capacity, rather than increasing it.
English Football League clubs backed calls for the introduction of safe standing areas in 2014 and in October 2016, Albion explored the possibility of installing limited safe standing at their home ground.
This season, Liverpool, Chelsea, Manchester City, and Manchester United have recently installed 'safe standing' areas, with rail seating, as well.
At a Brighton fan forum earlier this month, Barber, who is also the club's deputy chairman under owner Tony Bloom, spoke in detail about what this would do to the Amex in terms of capacity, the logistics, and more.
When asked about the possibility of having safe standing, Barber replied: "The simple answer is yes.
"I think it was around three years ago where we had an evening here [at the Amex] where we invited supporters to talk about safe standing here.
"The real issue was there was not as much support for it as we had expected and we surveyed fans as well.
"I think the common misconception with safe standing is that it is going to allow people to stand where they want, bunch up in groups and the reality it is not any of those things.
"It is one person to effectively a space that is bigger than a seat. So instead of increasing the capacity, it is more likely to reduce it."
The Sussex outfit announced it would increase the Amex's capacity to 31,800 seats but permission had been granted by Brighton & Hove City Council in March to up that to 32,500.
The expansion plans include a new external fan zone area, including kiosks, external toilets, and a giant screen on Station Approach, along with an extra stairway leading from the external concourse to the coach park; and a new gatehouse on Village Way.
Barber then laid out what would need to be asked of chairman Bloom with safe standing at the Amex.
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"The challenge for me would be to go to the man [chairman Tony Bloom] at the end of this table and say, 'You built a beautiful stadium, now I want to take it apart, I want to reduce the capacity, it is going to cost you more and the fans who want it expect it to cost them less'," he said.
"It is not a great combination. We have always had an open mind but unfortunately, the demand hasn't met the open mind.
"If that changes and if there is a very significant majority of people who want it in one area, then, of course, we will look at it and of course we will look at the economics that go with it.
"It is not quite as overwhelming demand as you might think based on what we have done so far."

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