The issue of ‘safe standing’ at top-level football has been back on the agenda this week following an incident at West Ham United’s midweek game against Chelsea.
Arsene Wenger was asked for his opinion when he faced the media on Friday. Here’s what he said:
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on the behaviour of some supporters at West Ham…I’m surprised even more than disappointed, because West Ham is usually a very strong fanbase, very motivated and as well we are not used, in England, to face these kind of problems anymore. Personally I am in favour of the resurgence of standing opportunities behind the goals and that is not a very good advert to come back to standing opportunities for people in the stands, so I am surprised. Hopefully West Ham will get rid of the problem very quickly.
on whether those scenes damage the argument for safe standing…Yeah, of course. It gives an argument to people who are against it.
on whether he thinks a game could end up being played behind closed doors…No. There is nothing more dull than that. I prefer not to play than playing games behind closed doors.
on why he is in favour of safe standing…I feel the closer you are to the positions of the players, the more passionate you are about it. As well because it would allow lower prices because you could get more spectators inside the stadiums, and maybe a more passionate atmosphere.
on whether too much is being made of the West Ham incident…I don’t believe there is a problem with hooliganism in England. You cannot say that one minor incident, I heard [it was] about 200 people, is a general problem in the country.
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