Safety at sports grounds relies to a great extent upon the deployment of an appropriate number of well trained and suitably equipped individuals whose role is to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment. Collectively, this role is known as stewarding. Stewards – known at some sports grounds as marshals – provide a direct and ongoing interaction between the ground management and spectators.
The main duties of most stewards are:
- to assist with the circulation of spectators
- to prevent overcrowding
- to reduce the likelihood and incidence of disorder
- to provide the means to investigate, report and take early action in an incident.
As such, the individual efforts and attitudes of stewards can have a strong bearing on achieving safe conditions.
In carrying out their duties stewards should also, always, be aware of, and ensure the care, comfort and wellbeing of all categories of spectators. In many instances it should be remembered that stewards may be the only service personnel representing the management with whom spectators have any contact during the course of an event.