What are P and S factors

Factors involved in assessing a safe capacity

It is explained in the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide), that the safe capacity of a sports ground should take account of both its physical condition and its safety management. These are known as the (P) factor and the (S) factor respectively.

Each of them is given a numerical value of between 0.0 and 1.0. These are used to determine the holding capacity, namely the number of spectators that can safely be accommodated in the area concerned, before the capacities of the entrances, exits and emergency exits are taken into account. Ground management should ensure they are assessed by a competent person with knowledge and understanding of the ground concerned, its operation and the general principles of safety.

Where any part or parts of a ground are covered by a safety certificate issued by the local authority ground management’s assessment of the (P) and (S) factors should be included with the capacity calculations when they are forwarded to the local authority for review and validation. Because each sports ground is different, the Green Guide does not attempt to place specific values on any of the elements that are likely to be considered when assessing (P) and (S) factors.

This is because assessments should not aim to create a cumulative scoring system in which values for individual elements are simply added together. Instead, the assessment should reflect a considered and reasonable overall judgement of the physical condition and safety management of the area in question. Further information is available within the Green Guide.

Supporting information on Safety Management

The SGSA has expanded on the advice contained in the Green Guide and sets out the safety management systems and procedures which should be in place at sports grounds.

The (S) factor for any ground may therefore be determined by judging how far the ground management meets the recommendations contained in Safety Management. When assessing the (S) factor consideration should be given to the

  • club’s safety policy;
  • competency of the safety officer and his/her deputy;
  • quality of the stewarding;
  • safety systems and procedures in place; and
  • management of the spectator accommodation.


Check the regulations

I’m a new Safety Officer, what do I need to know?

As a Safety Officer, you will need to be aware that the primary purpose of a safety certificate is to set the safe capacity of a designated ground or of a regulated stand at a non–designated ground.

Monitoring Local Authorities

Guidance on Safety Certification which providing a reference on the principles and procedures governing the safety certification of sports grounds.


Reflections on the Hillsborough Inquest verdict

SGSA Chief Executive Karen Eyre-White reflects on the verdicts of the Hillsborough Inquests

Helping India deliver a successful U-17 World Cup

In 2017, the eyes of the footballing world focused on India as it hosted the FIFA Under-17 World Cup across six venues and cities. The SGSA contributed to this partnership and played a significant role in the success of the tournament.

What’s new in the 6th edition of the Green Guide?

The new Green Guide is launched in late 2018. This page details what is different from the 5th version. Further details is provided in the Guide itself.

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Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds

The new edition of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds is now available.

View all News

Tools and resources

Standing in Seated Areas

In this paper we examine the nature and causes of spectators standing in seated areas at Premier and Football League grounds.

Safety Management

Our Safety Management guidance brings together good practice on safety personnel, safety management procedures, event management and preparing for incidents.


Our Concourses document contains helpful information including advice on occupancy levels and floor space factors.


Counter-terrorism in sports grounds

For a number of years the UK has been at a threat level of severe (an attack is highly likely) and ground management should have developed plans that are in place to provide protective security appropriate to that level.

What does Zone Ex mean?

In the planning, design and management of sports grounds it may be helpful to consider the circulation area in terms of zones.

How to calculate the safe capacity of a sports ground?

The responsibility for calculating the safe capacity of a ground rests with the ground management. Where any part or parts of a ground are covered by a safety certificate issued by the local authority the capacity calculated by ground management should be reviewed by the local authority and if validated included in the safety certificate. Further information and detail is available in the Green Guide.

When should the first annual inspection and structural appraisal be undertaken at a new, or recently completed, stadium?

It is usual that the safety certificate or operations manual will require ground management to obtain every 12 months , a report from a competent person that the structural elements have been inspected and found to be adequate.

What they're saying

“Fan safety at sports grounds is paramount. The world looks to us as an example of how to manage risks and improve safety records and this guide will continue to contribute to that legacy.”

Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in relation to the Green Guide