The 6th Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds

SGSA Inspector Martin Girvan

The Green Guide started off life as a thin A4 pamphlet providing simple advice and guidance but has, over time, become world-leading definitive guidance on safety at sports.  In October this year, the sixth edition will be released.

The purpose of this blog is to let you know why we felt the need to rewrite the guidance to replace the fifth edition, published in 2008.

The tradition has been to rewrite the Green Guide  on a roughly ten year cycle and typically in response to the changing world of safety, service, security and the commercial needs of sport. It can be argued that the fourth and possibly the fifth edition were a little too football centric and stadium-based; a reflection of the fact that they were produced by the Football Licensing Authority with its obvious bias. To redress this, the Sports Grounds Safety Authority has ensured that the new guidance is less stadium-based and can be applied to all sports grounds.

It’s important that each edition of the Green Guide reflects the needs of the industry and has an eye on the future demands of the sector. Before the SGSA began drafting the sixth edition, our first task was to consider both the frequently asked questions for the current version and the suggestions made by a variety of key stakeholders for future version. That gave us some leads as to those subjects that would require additional guidance.

There were several key issues relating was that had arisen since the fifth edition was published in 2008: a step change in security threats, the use of dual purpose seating in sports grounds, challenging designs and a change towards a risk-based safety management and certification. All of which pointed to the need for a new sixth edition of the Green Guide that would be more suited to the modern world. Over the next few weeks, we will dive into some of these new topics in more detail.

The next phase of the writing process was to draft the content.  Drafting guidance is never an easy task but after two years, some unhealthy addictions to caffeine, a few heads wrapped in cold towels and a consultation period we now have the finalised, professionally edited, content standing at over 300 pages.

The Green Guide is not merely a rework of previous versions nor a tinkering of the text but is a step-change in sports grounds safety that will benefit the sports economy across the world. 

Fundamentally, the Green Guidee is written to help sports grounds owners and operators to calculate a safe capacity for their venue.  However, it is also used around the world by architects and designers as a best practice guide for the development and refurbishment of new stadiums. As an organisation, we are very proud of the reach of the Green Guide and the positive impact that the 5th edition has had upon the safety of sports grounds over the last ten years and we hope that the soon to be released 6th edition has the same impact.