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Liverpool fans' group 'welcome' government safe standing review

Liverpool supporter group Spirit of Shankly (SOS) has welcomed news that the UK government is poised to commission a review into safe standing at matches in the top two divisions.

On Tuesday, it was reported that a government source had said "the time is right" to examine whether all-seater stadiums should remain mandatory.

Lord Justice Taylor's report into the 1989 Hillsborough disaster, in which 96 Liverpool fans died, brought in the all-seater policy in the top two divisions.

Last July, SOS posted the results of a poll, in which nearly 18,000 Liverpool fans took part, that showed 88 percent of Liverpool fans were in favour of introducing rail seating for safe standing.

"Spirit of Shankly welcome the government announcement that they plan to review the law concerning safe standing at top-flight football matches," SOS said in a statement on Tuesday.

"SOS acknowledges that Liverpool FC and their support hold a unique position. We as Liverpool fans, more than many, know and understand the emotion and sensitivities surrounding this issue. We expect it to be factored into any review and is the reason we felt it prudent to begin the process of discussion.

"In July last year we held a meeting where we spoke with, and received comments from, many families and survivors of Hillsborough. It was followed with a public debate and finally a survey to find out how our members and the club's supporters feel.

"The results of that survey, 28 years on from the Hillsborough disaster, were overwhelmingly in favour of the introduction of safe standing/rail seating."

SOS said the views of people directly affected by Hillsborough "should be heard loud and clear, not just referenced by politicians and decision makers."

"It is important that supporters of all clubs, and opinions, have a voice," the statement added. "Any decision taken must be backed by evidence."

Scottish champions Celtic opened a safe standing section in July 2016, while League One side Shrewsbury Town will this summer become the first club in England to have one.

West Bromwich Albion had proposals for a safe standing area at The Hawthorns turned down by the government in April.

Glenn is ESPN FC's Liverpool correspondent. You can follow him on Twitter: @GlennPrice94.

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