SGSA and FIFA collaboration
The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) has recently returned from a new pilot programme, run in collaboration with FIFA, to strengthen sports ground safety and security management practices in 14 African countries.
The initiative aims to enhance stadium safety management standards in football. The first stage of the programme has covered 14 associations from the COSAFA region.
During March this year, four SGSA Inspectors visited stadia in 12 countries across the region, including Zimbabwe, Malawi, South Africa and Madagascar. The inspectors – Ken Scott, Mark Smith, Peter Weymes and Rick Riding – visited the stadia to carry out safe capacity assessment of each of the country’s national stadiums.
Last week this was followed up with two separate two-day workshops for member association, delivered by the SGSA, along with the FIFA safety and security sub-division and CAF. During the workshops, our team delivered a new training package which aims to promote and stadium safety. Feedback to the individual member associations was also given in bilateral meetings.
Ken Scott, SGSA’s Head of Inspectorate, said: “We are proud to working in collaboration with FIFA on helping to improve sports grounds safety in countries across Africa.
“The initiative is an important first step towards enhancing the safety standards at stadia throughout Africa. The SGSA’s purpose is to enable spectators to watch live sport in safety. The assessment and training we have carried out with FIFA will help to build capacity and empower the African nations to improve safety standards of their stadia. We look forward to expanding this work to other countries across Africa.”
Speaking of the new initiative, Joyce Cook, Chief Member Associations Officer at FIFA, said: “The introduction of the new FIFA Stadium Safety programme will provide an important platform for member associations to enhance existing stadium safety policies in place, as well as playing an important role in raising overall safety management and security standards in football stadia around the world.
“As an important first step in the rollout of this new initiative and building on the historic MoU signed recently by the FIFA President, between FIFA, CAF and the African Union, we are delighted to be working with independent experts from the SGSA in the first pilot programme, which will help strengthen stadium safety standards in 14 member associations across the COSAFA region.”
Helmut Spahn, FIFA Safety and Security Director, added: “Educating and sharing best practice with member associations plays a vital role in raising stadium safety standards internationally, as well as enhancing the consistency of safety and security policies that are currently applied across national stadia around the world.
“In close collaboration with experts from the SGSA and our Stadium Safety and Security Working Group, the workshops delivered as part of the first pilot project in COSAFA will support the 14 member associations in Africa and help strengthen safety measures in place in their national stadiums, which will ultimately make the overall experience safer and more enjoyable for fans from these countries.”