Wenger: I want safe standing at the Emirates
Arsène Wenger has come out in support of safe standing in Premier League stadiums but fears the midweek trouble at West Ham's Olympic Stadium is not a good advert for the movement and hands ammunition to those who do not want to see standing terraces return.
Speaking in his pre-Sunderland match press conference the long-serving Arsenal manager said [on safe standing]:
"Personally I'm in favour of the resurgence of standing opportunities behind goals, and that is not a very good advert to come back to standing. Hopefully West Ham will get rid of the problem quickly."
Adding: "I feel the closer you are to the position of the player the more passionate you are. As well it would allow for lower prices because you could get more spectators inside, and maybe even a more passionate atmosphere."
Arsenal's Chief Executive, Ivan Gazidis, told the club's Annual General Meeting this week Arsenal have "an open mind" on safe standing.
Whilst the Hammers are threatening to identify and ban up to 200 supporters causing scenes during Wednesday night's EFL Cup tie, Wenger believes hooliganism is no longer a problem in English football. However he did hint that he is concerned such rare scenes work against those who wish to see safe standing reintroduced to Premier League grounds.
"I'm surprised even more than disappointed because West Ham is usually a strong fan base, very motivated, and we're not used to facing these kinds of problems in England anymore" he said. "I think basically I don't believe there's a problem with hooliganism in England - I have heard it's about 200 people so you cannot say it's a general problem in the country."
Questioned on the potential for West Ham to play games behind closed doors, with The Gunners visiting their East London neighbours on December 3, Wenger stated that he believed it would be the worst punishment for poor crowd control.
"There's nothing more dull than that. I would rather not play the game at all than behind closed doors."
What do you think? Would you like to see safe standing at the Emirates; what would be a fair pricing structure for those tickets and would it improve the atmosphere? Leave your comments below or on Twitter and Facebook.Tell us what you think! If you agree, or have a different view, please leave a comment in the comments section or why not write a response or your own article on YouWrite?
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