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Control room

The control room is the central hub of safety management during an event or matchday.

The control room (sometimes called the control point) is the central hub of safety management during an event or matchday.

It is key to the safe operation of the stadium that the control room is correctly configured, suitably manned and contains or has access to critical life safety systems to monitor performance during match days.

As the critical hub of stadium operations, the control room should only be accessed by key members of the safety team and be secure against malicious entry.

The following systems should be fully integrated into the control rooms:

1. Public address system link and override

The public address (PA) system should be serviced annually. All zones and speakers may be checked to ensure the sound levels are correct and that all speakers are cleaned. Contingency plans, such as use of a loudhailer/megaphone should be in place in the event the speakers fail during an event. The PA system should be tested before each event.

The PA/stadium announcer is a key role, and it is essential that clear and concise messaging is delivered to all attendees. This person should be trained accordingly and provided with texts written in advance for broadcasting over the public address system.

Although the PA/stadium announcer should not be located in the control room, they should be situated close by to allow safety and security messages to be passed across the system. The control room should have a PA override facility to allow safety and security staff to use the PA system in an emergency that has priority control over that of other operators.

Scripted words should be drafted and readily available to both the public announcer and the police, in the event of the emergency situations, such as:

  1. Congestion in spectator area in front of entry gates.
  2. Spectators still outside the entry gates at kick-off.
  3. Decision to delay/postpone match.
  4. Clashes between violent groups of supporters.
  5. Penetration of perimeter fence by one or more spectators.
  6. Discovery of potentially explosive/inflammable device.
  7. Threat of attacks with explosive/inflammable devices.
  8. Possible danger caused by poor weather or stadium construction faults.
  9. Danger posed by panic among spectators.

2. Fire alarm control panel

The fire alarm control panel is an electronic panel that is the controlling component of the stadium’s fire alarm detection and monitoring system. This equipment will need to be staffed by an appropriately trained and qualified person, with direct communication to the commander of the fire services.

3. Pitch lighting control panel

The lighting control panel controls pitch lighting. If the pitch lighting unexpectedly loses power, the control panel allows the control room to remotely toggle power (on-off) to restore the pitch lighting.

4. Electronic video screen (giant screen) control system (where installed)

The giant screen control system consists of a control panel and monitoring screens that allow a user to manage the time, score, video replays and other entertainment functions on the giant screen.

It should also be able to display written messages in case of an emergency, so that instructions and information can be provided to spectators and stadium staff.

As with the public address announcer, the main operator of the giant screen should not be located in the control room but in a separate room near it, so that messages can be passed from the control room to the operator. Management should consider having an override facility in the control room to allow safety and security staff to use the giant screen for sending
messages when required.

5. CCTV monitors

Sufficient CCTV surveillance monitors and control systems should be installed in the control room to properly undertake proactive and reactive surveillance monitoring and control of the cameras. The auditor should confirm that images and recordings are stored appropriately with the event logs and kept for a minimum of 60 days.

CCTV is key to control room staff understanding what is happening in real time in and around the stadium and gives control the ability to react dynamically to any given situation, such as queueing issues, disorder, medical incidents, traffic management and so on.

The CCTV system should be serviced annually. All zones and cameras should be checked and cleaned. CCTV Operators should be sufficiently trained and check all cameras are positioned correctly and clean the lens of the CCTV cameras using an appropriate lens cleaner or wipe every few months to ensure a good, clear picture.

The CCTV system should be tested before each event.

6. Communications

There must be a robust and comprehensive communications system for all aspects of stadium safety and security.

Standard commercial mobile phone networks often become overloaded during an incident and therefore cannot be relied upon as a means of communication for the purposes of safety and security.

As such, the auditor should check that the following systems are available in the control room:

  1. External fixed landline, direct dial (i.e. not through a switchboard)
  2. Intercom or internal fixed landlines between key locations around the stadium and the control room to include:
    • PA system announce
    • Giant screen operator
    • Entry points
    • First aid rooms
    • Police detention rooms
    • Team and referees’ dressing rooms
    • Competition organisers co-ordination office (if in place)
  3. Radio network for all safety and security functions
  4. Internet/data facilities

In addition, emergency phones (Red Phones) should be located in each corner of the stands, the medical room, the home physio room, the officials changing room, hospitality reception and the control unit in the control room. These should be tested before.

7. Spectator entry counting system

Stadium entry points must have a system for counting spectators.

Ideally, this should be automated, but whichever system is adopted, the information must be collated in the control room at regular intervals of 15 minutes from the time the gates are open until kick-off plus 30 minutes, so that the safety and security management team can assess the entry flow and capacity of the stadium.

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Turnstiles in use


Ingress relates to the safe entry to the sports ground.

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8. Uninterruptible power supply (UPS)

All electrical systems listed above should have an uninterruptible power supply (UPS), which consists of an electrical apparatus that provides emergency power to a load when the input power source, typically the utility mains, fails. A UPS differs from an auxiliary or emergency power system or standby generator in that it will provide instantaneous or near instantaneous protection from input power interruptions by means of one or more attached batteries and associated electronic circuitry for low power users.

The on-battery runtime of most uninterruptible power sources is relatively short, with 15 minutes being typical for smaller units but sufficient to allow time to bring an auxiliary power source online, or to properly shut down the protected equipment.