West Ham United will welcome 57,000 fans to the London Stadium for their first home Premier League match against AFC Bournemouth this Sunday.
The Club said that following a meeting of the London Stadium Safety Advisory Group (LLSAG), Newham Council has formally agreed to increase the working capacity of the London Stadium to 57,000 (from 54,000) ahead of the game.
Although both of the opening two fixtures were hailed a resounding success by supporters and media commentators alike, the LSSAG identified a problem in certain sections of the ground where fans were standing up, contrary to ground regulations.
The Club said it appreciates that many supporters across the country do stand at football matches, but added that London Stadium is licensed as an all-seater Stadium and persistent standing has posed a significant problem to many supporters, particularly young children and disabled ticket holders.
LSSAG will continue to monitor the situation very closely and has noted that the Club has issued messages to supporters to remain seated throughout the game, and acknowledge that the Club will want to increase the capacity to 60,000 as soon as possible.
Vice Chairman Baroness Brady CBE said:
As a Board we must follow the guidance as set out by LSSAG to ensure more supporters are able to attend matches at our stunning new home.
While an increased capacity of 57,000 is naturally a significant step forward for all concerned, we absolutely aim to operate at the full 60,000 capacity in the very near future.
We respect the decision of LSSAG and Newham Council and will work closely with them, and with our supporters, so that we are able to reach a 60,000 capacity in the coming weeks.
The LSSAG have identified that standing in an all-seater stadium is dangerous and that we must continue to communicate this to our supporters.
Watch Karen Brady give Sky Sports a tour of the new Stadium ahead of the game with Bournemouth on Sunday here: http://www.skysports.com/football/news/11685/10542233/watch-karren-brady-takes-patrick-davison-around-west-ham-new-stadium
Joint-Chairmen David Sullivan and David Gold added:
We understand the traditions of football and that many supporters like to stand, but the reality is that the license is for all-seating. Therefore, we urge our supporters to watch the game from their seats.
The Club said it will continue to work with LS185, London Borough of Newham, the LSSAG and all relevant authorities and partners to operate at the intended 60,000 capacity as soon as possible.