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Gillingham FC boss Paul Scally not ruling out return of terracing at Priestfield Stadium

By Luke Cawdell

Gillingham Football Club could bring standing areas back to their home ground if legislation allows.

Under current law, only clubs outside of the top two divisions can have terracing in their stadiums.

Clubs winning promotion to the Championship are given three years to turn their terraced areas into all-seated sections and once they have done so, they cannot go back to standing.

Despite well-documented problems of the past, terracing remains popular among football fans and Gillingham Football Club are currently investigating the cost of introducing safe-standing areas to Priestfield.

Gills chairman Paul Scally said: “I have asked our stadium manager to investigate the costs of installing it and how it would work at our club.

“I am not against it if the regulations ever permit allowing it and the government allow it. We would then consider it seriously.”

Gillingham play in League 1, where terracing remains legal. Clubs like Stevenage, Crawley and Carlisle still have large standing areas in their grounds.

Fellow League 1 side Bristol City recently introduced ‘rail-seating’ as an experiment.

It is considered a safe way of standing, where areas can be easily adapted from seating to standing.

Gillingham chairman Paul Scally
Gillingham chairman Paul Scally

In Europe, particularly Germany, rail-seating allows for large crowds to congregate. One stand at Borussia Dortmund’s Westfalenstadion has a capacity of 25,000 fans.

“I like standing at football matches and always have,” said Mr Scally.

“I have asked our stadium manager to start making enquiries with regards to the Bristol City trial and at Schalke, where they have the rail seating. We are looking at that, just in case the regulations do change.

“I am all for it. I haven’t got a problem with it, if the regulations allow it.”

The idea of bringing terracing back to England’s top-flight grounds was raised in the summer at the Football League’s chairmen’s conference.

Clubs decided to investigate the issue further and all Football League clubs have been consulted.

The Football League may now decide to take the matter to the government, in a bid to alter the law.

Mr Scally, who is still keen on taking Gillingham to a new ground, hasn’t ruled out terracing being implemented at a new build.

He said: “I wouldn’t be against it in there at all, for certain areas, not all round.

“If it is proven to be safe and the government permits it, then I would be more than happy to consider it.”

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