Australia's first Australian-safe standing area has been installed and tested at Western Sydney Wanderers' new home Bankwest Stadium a month before their first match there.
The Wanderers will face English Championship side Leeds United on Saturday July 20 at the pristine new venue - and for the first time, fans will be able to stand and cheer without being hassled by security.
Today, a group of Wanderers fans became the first to see the safe standing in action when they were joined by Wanderers defender Tarek Elrich and Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas at the stadium.
Only a section of the active support area was tested, but when fully deployed 1260 seats will be removed from Bankwest Stadium’s northern end and replaced with rails to accommodate 1260 standing spaces.
“This is a new beginning for the club,” said Elrich. “The fans, the players the coaches all expect results here and hopefully we can fill the Stadium.
“When the fans are out here supporting us we feel that on the pitch and we’d love to see this new active support area packed with the Red and Black.
“Leeds have a very rich culture and they’re a massive club so to have them come out here and play against us in the new stadium next month is something we’ll never forget.”
The dedicated active support area is being hailed as a game-changer for fans and is expected to enhance the stadium atmosphere.
“This safe standing represents a landmark moment for Australian football,” said Wanderers CEO John Tsatsimas.
“It’s something we’ve lobbied for long and hard and now it’s come to fruition. It's the first time an Australian football team has been able to have a safe standing area, and we’re glad to be leading the charge in terms of active support.
“Tomorrow marks 30 days to go until we play Leeds here and it’s going to be a monumental day for the Western Sydney Wanderers.”