Licensing the 2019/20 season

Today is one of the SGSA’s most important days of the year – the issuing of licences to all of the Premier League and English Football League clubs ready for the new season.

The licence allows clubs to admit spectators to their grounds for football matches.  Without the SGSA licence, fans would not be allowed to enter the stadium.

As the UK Government’s regulator for safety at football, the SGSA is here to support and advise clubs to ensure fans can enjoy watching games in safe, secure and enjoyable surroundings.  One of our central regulatory responsibilities is the management of the licensing process.

The process itself starts earlier in the year, when all clubs submit an application and the £100 licence fee. Our Inspectors then develop summary licensing reports and risk assessments for each of the grounds, which are reviewed by the Head of Inspectorate.  Once these are finalised, the applications and reports, which give an overall impression of safety and safety management at each ground, are provided to SGSA Board members for consideration.  The Board then makes the final determination on whether to issue a licence.  The final step is for our Chair, Alan Coppin, and Chief Executive, Martyn Henderson, to sign the licences and send them to clubs.

Clubs in the top two tiers of the league, or have been for more than three years since 1994/95 are subject to the Government’s all-seater policy.  They receive a licence with specific conditions that state that seated accommodation must be provided and that spectators must sit.  We know that the risks involved in persistent standing in seated areas continues to be a significant challenge for clubs.  Our priority for the season is to support clubs in safely managing this issue.