Monitoring Local Authorities

The SGSA carries out its statutory review function by a combination of:

  • meetings with the certifying authority and other appropriate parties;
  • attendance at meetings of the safety advisory group;
  • monitoring of the safety certificate and records required to be kept under the terms and conditions of the safety certificate; and
  • sample checks and observations at the sports grounds concerned on match and non match days.

The SGSA has published guidance on Safety Certification which provides a single source of reference on the principles and procedures governing the safety certification of sports grounds. The SGSA uses this document as a yardstick when keeping under review local authorities which come within its regulatory oversight. However, the document will also be of value to all local authorities who issue safety certificates under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and/or the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987.

Under the provisions of the Football Spectators Act 1989 the SGSA has the power to insert conditions into any safety certificate by issued in respect of any Premier or Football League ground, Wembley or Millennium Stadium. However, the SGSA seeks at all times to proceed by means of advice, persuasion and agreement and our statutory powers will only be used as a last resort.

Download

Check the regulations

Which parts of a ground should be covered by a Safety Certificate?

The terms and conditions of the safety certificate should cover all areas to which the spectators have access, including restaurants, licensed bars, and concourses.

About Designated Grounds

Under the provisions of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 the local authority is responsible for issuing and enforcing a safety certificate in respect of a sports ground designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

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. Find out more here

What is a Safety Certificate?

Under the provisions of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (the 1975 Act), county councils, unitary authorities, metropolitan or London boroughs are responsible for issuing and enforcing a safety certificates in respect of any sports ground in their area which has been designated by the Secretary of State.

Licences issued by SGSA

The annual licence issued by the SGSA to each club specifies the areas of the ground to which spectators may be admitted. Read about the process and download the forms here.

Legislation related to Policing

Responsibility for the safety of spectators lies at all times with ground management. However, at certain sports grounds and for certain matches or events the presence of the police may be required to maintain public order. This page provides relevant information from legislation relating to policing in sports grounds.

All Seated Football Stadiums

Lord Justice Taylor’s Report of the Inquiry into the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster recommended that all grounds in the old First and Second Divisions of the Football League (now FA Premier League and Football League Championship) should be all-seated by August 1994. Lord Justice Taylor also recommended that clubs in the former Third and Fourth Divisions (the current Leagues 1 and 2) of the Football League should be all-seated by August 1999.

What is a Regulated Stand?

A regulated stand is any covered stand with accommodation for 500 or more spectators, whether seated or standing. A local authority is required to determine whether any, and if so which, of the stands at sports grounds within its area are regulated stands.

Tools and resources

Guide to Safety Certification

This guidance updates and supersedes the guidance on safety certification issued by the Football Licensing Authority (FLA) in 2001.

Standing in Seated Areas

In this paper, from 2013, we examine the nature and causes of spectators standing in seated areas at Premier and Football League grounds.

Model Safety Certificate

You can download a template for a safety certificate here

Safety Management

Safety management at sports grounds has steadily become more sophisticated and more professional over the past twenty years. “Safety Management” draws together good practice on safety personnel, safety management procedures, event management and preparing for incidents.

A Wider Definition of Safety – Local Authority Checklist

This document contains a series of questions that certifying authorities may wish to consider to check their progress in ensuring that the wider understanding of safety has been adopted by sports grounds to whom they issue safety certificates under the 1975 and 1987 Acts.

Concourses

Concourses draws upon the views and experience of safety officers, leading stadia architects and engineers in addition to the survey work of the Core Cities group of local authorities. It examines how floor space factors are applied in other similar venues and contains clear advice on concourse occupancy levels and floor space factors which will provide an invaluable source of information for sports ground managers, designers, safety advisors and interested agencies when upgrading existing or designing new facilities at sports grounds.

Safety Certificate Checklist

This checklist may be helpful for certifying authorities when checking safety certificates for possible changes as a result of the wider understanding of safety

Responses to the consultation on a Wider Definition of Safety

In February 2017, the SGSA issued a consultation that sought the views of stakeholders on the implications of a review of the term ‘safety’ in the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975. The responses to this consultation can be downloaded here.

Guidance

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 is the Statement of Intent?

If there is to be a police presence in or at the sports ground, management should discuss with the police the division of responsibilities and functions between the two parties; for example, whether particular tasks are to be undertaken by stewards or by police officers, and who will assume responsibility in particular circumstances. The outcome of these discussions should be recorded in a written and signed statement of intent.

Support for Local Authorities – Policies and Procedures

To assist local authorities develop appropriate policies and procedures, or to review existing ones, the SGSA has produced guidance which explains what should be included in an authority’s policies and procedures for the issue and review of a safety certificate, for the monitoring of compliance with the terms and conditions of a safety certificate and for the enforcement of the 1975 and 1987 Acts.

Safety for all at sports grounds

This guidance note describes the interactions between the different legislation in this area and the impacts on the safety management of a sports ground thereby protecting all those present, including spectators, staff, contractors and participants.

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.

What are P and S factors

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.

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.

My club has been promoted; what do I need to know?

Information to help Football Conference clubs understand the requirements that will be placed upon them following promotion to the Football League and to provide links to sources of detailed information which will help them in planning how to meet those requirements.

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