Skip to content

Stewarding roles and duties

Stewards fulfil a range of roles and duties at a sports ground which are central to the safe delivery of events.

Stewards are amongst the most critical staff members at a sports ground. They implement the policies and instructions from the safety management team.

However competent the ground’s senior management and the Safety Officer, effective event safety management relies to a great extent upon stewards.

The duties of a steward will vary, depending on the size and configuration of the ground and the nature and timing of the event.


Roles within a sports ground can be identified as safety, security and non-safety critical (often referred to as the service element to stewarding). Ground management should identify these roles and locations to best utilise the resources available to them. This may vary from event to event.

The identification of these roles is part of the Stewarding and Security Plans.

Steward qualities

The performance and interpersonal skills of individual stewards can have a strong bearing on delivering a safe, secure and welcoming event. Collectively, the overall standard of stewarding is one of the main factors in determining the (S) factor for the ground.

All stewards should:

  • Be fit and active
  • Have a mature character and temperament
  • Demonstrate interpersonal skills
  • Communicate fluently in English.

Steward duties

The duties of a steward will depend on the requirements of the ground and the event. As an overview, duties can include:

  • Assisting with the circulation of spectators, including during ingress and egress.
  • Monitoring and controlling crowd movements and density within viewing areas, so as to prevent overcrowding.
  • Identifying and reporting any potential hazards, such as trip or fire hazards.
  • Staff entrances, exits and other strategic points, such as the pitch, or any exit doors or gates as needed.
  • Responding to incidents (such as the early stages of a fire or medical incident); communicating with the control point, and taking any immediate actions needed.
  • Support emergency services in the safety management operation, where directed by the Safety Officer.

Security roles

Security roles and locations are those which require a licence from the Security Industry Authority (SIA). In-house stewards (those employed by the ground) carrying out licensable activities at sports grounds are exempt from this requirement if the sports ground is covered by a safety certificate.

‘SIA licensable activities’ at sports grounds are:

  • Stewards searching spectators on their entry to the ground.
  • Stewards specifically tasked with physically intervening against and ejecting spectators who are in breach of ground regulations. This includes decisions on refusal of entry.
  • The supervisors of those stewards in categories a and b immediately above.
  • In a non-front-line capacity, safety officers and chief stewards.

Non-safety critical (service) roles and locations

There are various roles at a sports ground which can be safely conducted by well-trained and briefed individuals who are not a qualified steward.

These roles are focused on customer service and enhancing the experience of spectators in and around the venue.

The non-safety critical roles can be completed by an Event Attendant. However, they must be sufficiently trained and briefed by the venue before starting in the role.

Their basic duties include:

  • Wayfinding and general support to spectators.
  • Guidance and direction to attendees arriving by car or on foot.
  • Customer care duties including directing to refreshments, toilets and first aid facilities.
  • Monitoring non-safety critical locations, as identified by the safety management team and included in the deployment section within the Stewarding Plan.

Stewards can carry out the duties of non-safety critical roles and locations. It is the responsibility of individual grounds to determine how best to use their resources, as part of the Stewarding Plan.

Steward documentation

To support stewards in their roles, they should be provided with a Safety Handbook and Code of Conduct providing key information about their duties and responsibilities.

The Safety Handbook should include content such as:

  • Information about the venue, including its layout and management
  • Summary of general duties and any specific duties
  • Duties before, during and after the event
  • Communication and radio call signs
  • Key point telephones and fire safety points
  • Fire precautions and fire safety

Each ground will tailor the contents for their own circumstances.

Stay up to date