Spectator Injury Data Statistics Released

This Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) has today released the spectator injury statistics from football clubs in England and Wales for the 2018/19 season.

In the 2018/19 season, there were:

  • 38,073,988 spectators at matches in the Premier League (plus football matches played at Wembley and Principality Stadium), Championship and Leagues One and Two.
  • 2,069 spectators treated for injuries.
  • 165 spectators taken to hospital.
  • This equates to 1 injury per 18,402 spectators.
  • Slips/Trips/Falls were the cause of 31% of all recorded injuries – the highest ‘known’ category.

The data is based on returns from 92 of the 94 football grounds subject to SGSA licensing.  The remaining two clubs submitted partial returns.  The SGSA has worked with the National Centre for Social Research to interrogate each club’s return to improve consistency in the categorisation of the causes of injuries.

Martyn Henderson, Chief Executive of the SGSA said: “The SGSA’s focus is ensuring spectators can enjoy watching football in safety. Reported injuries are low, and even where there are injuries, they are rarely sufficiently serious to require a spectator to be taken to hospital. But we know there is no room for complacency.

“The self-reporting nature of the data, and the manual data collection and collation process means there remains potential for further improvements to the robustness of the data. Over the last year we have worked with the Premier League and Imperial College to review how injury data is collected. We will be implementing the recommendations to ensure the reporting process generates as clear and as accurate a picture as possible.  This will help to inform our future regulatory activity.”

The Injuries at football grounds 2018/19 report provides the full results.  This includes a summary of the reported spectator injuries for the past three seasons is shown in Table 1.  This is broken down by each division, as well as a cumulative number for all (Wembley and Principality Stadium are included in Premier League figures).

The results for the 2018/19 season provide more in-depth analysis of the injury data than has previously been available, including the cause, type of injury and the time period in which it took place.  These results are provided in the tables below.

An injury is classed as a wound or trauma, hurt or harm, usually applied to damage inflicted on a body by an external force.  Illnesses are by their nature excluded. Pre-existing injuries are also discounted from the returns as the summary primarily focuses on injuries occurring within the curtilage of the ground on match day. Additionally, any injuries which can be attributed to the intoxication of the patient are excluded.

Improving Spectator Injury Data

During 2019 the SGSA and the Premier League commissioned Imperial College London to review the current procedures for spectator injury data collation and offer recommendations for improvements.

The full Improving Spectator Injury Data report report outlines the findings of the project, including:

  • Each of the six Premier Clubs reviewed in the study were found to have developed a unique combination of internal (such as event doctors) and external (including St John Ambulance or Local NHS Service Trust) medial service providers to meet the first aid requirements set out in the Green Guide.
  • Injuries account for less than half of all media presentations treated at football matches. Illnesses and exacerbations of pre-existing conditions of both spectators and members of staff are also frequently treated.

The project found five recommendations to improve the quality of spectator of injury data collected by the SGSA. These include:

  • Collect data detailing all medical incidents, not only injuries.
  • Improve the data collection form by removing unnecessary questions.
  • Create an online portal for submitting medical incident data.

The SGSA is grateful to the Premier League and the six clubs involved in the project – Brighton and Hove Albion, Cardiff City, Everton, Manchester City, Manchester United and Newcastle United – for their advice and support.

We will work with partners to implement these recommendations.