Soccer-Liverpool to expand Anfield to over 61,000 seats, rail seating to be trialled

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Premier League - Liverpool v Aston Villa

(Reuters) -Liverpool have been granted planning permission for their proposed expansion of the Anfield Road stand which would increase the capacity at Anfield to over 61,000, Liverpool City Council said on Tuesday.

The redevelopment will increase the ground's capacity by around 7,000, making Anfield the third-largest stadium in the Premier League by capacity, after Manchester United's Old Trafford and the Tottenham Hotspur Stadium.

Liverpool have also been given permission to host up to six concerts and major events at Anfield for a period of five years.

"This is a huge milestone in our journey towards bringing more supporters into Anfield," Andy Hughes, managing director of Liverpool, said in a statement.

"We underwent a two-stage public consultation period during the planning process for the project and I would like to thank everyone who has offered a contribution to that.

"In what has been a very unpredictable year, we are seeking certainty in order to progress with this project and there are still some steps we need to take to get there."

Liverpool also announced they will run a 12-month trial of rail seating at Anfield from the start of the 2021-22 season.

The Kop and Anfield Road Stand will have a total of 7,800 seats installed with safety rails in the trial following a safety review by the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA).

Liverpool said the new seats are not "safe standing" areas but the design will allow fans to stand safely at key moments in the game.

"The safety of our supporters when they come to Anfield is our absolute priority and we are fully committed to working with the SGSA on the trial of these new seats at Anfield," Hughes said.

All-seater stadiums were made mandatory in the Premier League and Championship by the 1990 Taylor Report which ordered clubs to convert their stands by 1994 following the 1989 Hillsborough disaster.

(Reporting by Hritika Sharma in Hyderabad and Hardik Vyas in Bengaluru, editing by Ed Osmond)

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