The collation and analysis of relevant data and evidence is key to the SGSA’s commitment to being the world’s leading authority on sports grounds safety.

Our research activities include:

Published research

The following outlines research we have published to inform our decision making:

Standing at football

In August 2019 the SGSA commissioned independent research on the nature and scale of standing at football, associated safety risks and how to mitigate them. The research took place over the 2019/20 season.

In February 2020, the SGSA released the emerging findings of the research.

In June 2021, the SGSA released the The Safe Management of Persistent Standing in Seated Areas final report (PDF).

The research follows on from the DCMS commissioned review into evidence relating to the all-seater policy  This identified a lack of evidence on standing at football grounds.

In January 2022, the SGSA commissioned CFE Research to evaluate the early adopters of licensed standing in football grounds.  In April 2022, we published the interim findings summary of this research.

The final report was published in July 2022: Early adopters of licensed standing areas – CFE Research evaluation (PDF).

In August 2023, the SGSA published an independent evaluation of the first year of licensed standing: Licensed standing in football stadia Post-implementation evaluation (PDF).


Evaluation of stewarding challenges

In 2022, the SGSA commissioned 2CV to conduct research funded by the Department for Digital, Culture, Media & Sport (DCMS) to understand the motivations for becoming a steward and the challenges that stewards (past and present) have in the role. This followed research conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen) which undertook an assessment of the post-COVID stewarding labour market, as outlined below.

The research – SGSA Evaluation of Stewarding (PDF) – showed that the reasons for becoming a steward are varied, with motivations ranging from keeping spectators safe, flexible employment, and loyalty to a specific sports club.  Overall satisfaction is high among stewards, but the research highlights the challenges of the role and provides potential solutions which will be key in the long-term sustainability of the stewarding function.

Stewarding Labour Market

In 2022, the SGSA commissioned NatCen to conduct research following reports of a shortfall in stewards at sport grounds since spectators were re-admitted to grounds following the COVID-19 pandemic.  The research reviewed existing evidence about stewarding and interviewed representatives from across the sports and live events industry.  The reports of this are available below:

Stewarding Labour Market – Summary of Findings (PDF)

Stewarding Labour Market – Desk Review Findings (PDF)

Stewarding Labour Market – Qualitative Interviews Report (PDF)

Other research

Safety requirements of Neurodiverse fans at live sports events

The research, carried out in partnership with Level Playing Field and conducted by the National Centre for Social Research (NatCen), aimed to better understand the experiences and safety requirements of neurodiverse fans.

According to our research, developments to ticketing, staff training and matchday information would hugely improve the experience of neurodiverse fans attending live sporting events.

Spectator experiences at pilot events

In 2020, the SGSA and UK Sport worked in partnership with the University of Edinburgh to understand the experience of spectators who attended pilot events in the UK during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The project, co-funded by UK Sport, saw 1,821 spectators who attended pilot sport events between 26 July and 3 October 2020 complete the survey.  The events covered football, horse racing, cricket, basketball and snooker.

The aim of the project was to get an understanding of how spectators felt about returning to a venue to watch live sport.

External resources

In addition to research produced by the SGSA, we are interested in data and evidence produced by others that are directly or indirectly related to safety at sports grounds.

Please note views and opinions expressed on these other websites are not necessarily those of the SGSA.