Manchester United will trial 1,500 barrier seats that will allow fans to stand next season, after being given permission by Trafford council.

Standing at top-flight games has been banned since 1994 under the terms of the Taylor report which followed the Hillsborough disaster of 1989 in which 96 Liverpool fans died.

United applied last year to have barrier seating – which has a rail in front for supporters to lean on – and have the green light to follow Wolves, who got permission last spring to trial it.

The 1,500 berths are to be in Old Trafford’s J-stand, in the north-east quadrant of the stadium. If the trial is successful the club will add further safe standing places.

Richard Arnold, United’s managing director, said the move followed feedback from fans and had safety in mind. “Our belief is that the introduction of barrier seats will enhance spectator safety in areas of the stadium where – as with other clubs – we have seen examples of persistent standing,” he said.

He also addressed the timing of the announcement amid coronavirus. “Our overwhelming priority is to keep our people safe from the Covid-19 pandemic. It may seem strange to talk about stadium plans at this time, but football and our fans will return when it is safe, and our preparations for that must continue in the background.”

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