The club will then be in a position to introduce safe standing should any change in law occur.
The work will take place prior to the start of the 2021-22 season, meaning there will be no disruption for supporters, who by then are expected to be able to return to games.
The seats, which are designed to lock into a folded position and give fans space to stand, would be installed over the summer in the lower tier of the South Stand, City said.
Rail seats can be folded away and locked in position to create a safe standing area with barriers.
City believe introducing them now will enhance safety in an area already affected by persistent standing on matchdays.
NEWS | Work will begin this summer to install 5.620 rail seats in the lower tier of the Etihad Stadium’s South Stand – including the South East and South West corners – to enhance supporter safety, replacing the current seats.
? #ManCity | https://t.co/axa0klD5re
— Manchester City (@ManCity) March 23, 2021
Commenting on the installation of rail seating at the Etihad Stadium, Danny Wilson, Managing Director – Manchester City Operations, said:
“The development and installation of a bespoke rail seating system at the Etihad Stadium will not only improve supporter safety but also ensures that until there is a change in legislation which permits safe standing, the matchday experience of supporters and Seasoncard holders in the lower tier of the South Stand will remain unaffected.
“Whilst we will continue to remind supporters that they should remain seated during matches, we are also pleased to inform them that the installation of a rail seating area means the Etihad Stadium will be ready and prepared should the government bring forward legislation to introduce safe standing in the Premier League.”
There are growing calls for standing to be allowed using the rail seat system but there has been no indication when this might happen.
Tottenham’s new stadium has “safe seating” which has been “future-proofed” for the potential introduction of standing. Wolves have recently installed barrier seating at Molineux as part of a trial, with Manchester United scheduled to install barrier seating at Old Trafford this summer.
In 2018, new guidance from the Sports Ground Safety Authority, the body in charge of ground safety, allowed the use of rail seats.