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SGSA licence fee

The SGSA licence fee is paid by football grounds and allows the admittance of spectators.

The SGSA licence fee is determined by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport.

The licence fee covers the regulatory activities of the SGSA.

The Government confirmed its decision to reform the licence fee for the SGSA with effect for the 2024/25 licence. The announcement was made in a Written Ministerial Statement from Rt Hon Lucy Frazer KC MP, the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. The licence fee change reduces the burden on taxpayers.

The fee is apportioned to grounds based on the average attendance of a ground over the previous two full seasons. The attendance is based on league matches only, with the information provided directly by the Premier League and EFL.

The SGSA licence allows the admittance of spectators into the ground to watch matches.  Without this licence, it would be a breach of the Football Spectators Act 1989 to admit spectators.  The cost of this licence was set at £100 in the early 1990s at the inception of the Football Licensing Authority, the SGSA’s predecessor. The licence fee remained unchanged until 2024.

For 2024/25, the regulatory cost for the SGSA will be £1,746,300.  The average attendance for the 93 grounds licensed by the SGSA for the last two seasons is 1,620,014.  This equates to just under £1.08 per spectator per year, for the SGSA licence, or just under 5p per spectator per match (based on 23 matches).

The average attendance figures for each club were received directly from the Premier League and EFL. The SGSA budget figures have been independently reviewed by the Chartered Institute of Public Finance and Accountancy (CIPFA).

Individual grounds will be charged based on the average attendance of their ground over the last two seasons.  The following outlines how much of the cost of regulation is covered by each league:

  • Premier League grounds (and Wembley Stadium) – 50%
  • Championship grounds – 29%
  • League 1 grounds – 13%
  • League 2 grounds – 8%

The SGSA licence provides assurance that football grounds are safe.  We do this through formal visits and assessments throughout the year to review and update procedures, including matchday inspections, ground assessments, and so on.

In addition, we provide informal and invaluable advice to support safety operations at grounds.  This includes:

  • Providing expert advice to grounds during redevelopments and new builds at no additional cost.
  • Supporting grounds in the safe use of their venues for events beyond football, such as concerts and other entertainments.   
  • Improvements in safety management procedures, such as the development of Operations Manuals, and the understanding of Zone Ex issues.
  • Protecting clubs from latent safety risks, such as persistent standing in seated areas.
  • Advising on technical issues, such as circulation in grounds and flow rates, which contribute to managing crowds safely and have led to identifying capacity increases.
  • Supporting grounds when responding to complex challenges.

Licence fee reform

This decision to reform the licence fee followed an independent review of the SGSA in 2022 which concluded the current funding model is “inflexible and not fit for purpose, with the licence fee not reflecting the costs of regulation”.

In September 2023, the SGSA led a consultation with industry on behalf of the Government which outlined proposals on how to change the licence fee. The Government’s statement confirmed that the fee will be based on official average league attendance over the previous two seasons.


The Football Spectators Act 1989 introduced a requirement for a licence to admit spectators for grounds where designated football matches are played – that is any competitive men’s football match played at a Premier League or English Football League (EFL) football ground, Wembley Stadium, or the Principality Stadium. The 1989 Act also introduced an associated licence fee, which is determined by the Secretary of State and may be fixed to reimburse the expenses of the authority.

When the licensing system was established in advance of the 1993/94 season, a nominal £100 fee was charged. When this fee was introduced, the then Secretary of State for National Heritage stated this was “likely later to be raised to reflect more closely the full costs involved in determining the licence conditions”. However, three decades on and despite enormous growth in the industry and ever-evolving safety challenges, the SGSA licence fee remains at just £100.

The operating costs of the SGSA (and previously the Football Licensing Authority) were met by public money via the Government, and this remains the case today.

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