New sports safety guidance launched

The Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) has launched its updated Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (the ‘Green Guide’).

The Green Guide helps sports grounds owners and operators calculate a safe capacity for their venue.  It is used around the world by architects and designers as a best practice guide for the development and refurbishment of stadiums.  The new sixth edition offers the latest expert advice and technical specifications on ensuring a safe environment for spectators.

The publication of the Guide is the culmination of two years work, which included researching and consulting with a range of organisations including football, cricket and rugby bodies, architects and the emergency services.  The document breaks new ground in recognising the crucial part that areas outside of the ground play in the safe arrival and departure of spectators, referred to in the Guide as Zone Ex. The Guide also develops ideas on egress under “exceptional” circumstances, that is when normal exiting isn’t available due to external incidents.  Many other changes and updates are included recognising the advances in technology and the quest for more innovative designs for sports grounds.

Rt Hon Jeremy Wright MP, the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, said: “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.”

Brendan Batson, former Sports Grounds Safety Authority Board Member and West Bromwich Albion footballer said: “Safety at sports grounds has come a long way since my time as a professional footballer – and the Green Guide has been instrumental in driving this progress.  The fact that it is now used around the world as a ‘gold standard’ is testament to the great work of the SGSA and all of its partners in the sporting world.  I welcome this new version of the guide, which will again help to raise the bar for safety both here in the UK and across the world.”

Ken Scott, Head of Inspectorate at the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, said: “This new edition of the Green Guide reflects the very latest trends and developments in stadium design and safety management, for example the increasing use and sophistication of digital technology, touching on such areas as access control, crowd modelling, CCTV systems and communications.  It will be invaluable to everyone involved in managing and designing for safety at sports grounds.”

The first edition was published in 1973.  Since then it has seen significant development, following the tragedies at Bradford City in 1985 and Hillsborough in 1989.  The previous edition was published in 2008.  Over the last decade we have seen a changing landscape which has impacted on safety.  The increase in terrorist activity across the UK and internationally, some of which has specifically targeted sports venues has led to additional guidance being developed.

The Guide is available to purchase either in hard copy or digitally via the Sports Ground Safety Authority website: