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Annual inspection v structural appraisal – what is the difference?

Spectator accommodation

Celebrating 10 years of the SGSA

Licensed standing in seated areas

Event Safety Management

Andy Robinson

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Guide to safety certification


Safety Advisory Group – Terms of Reference Checklist

SGSA Strategic Plan 2020-24

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Annual Report and Accounts

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Zone Ex

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P and S Factors


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I’m a new Safety Officer, what do I need to know?

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Is an Operations Manual held by a public body covered by the Freedom of Information Act?

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Matches between league and non-league opposition

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Electronic gates

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Reducing slip hazards on concourses

Dynamic Performance and Testing of Grandstands

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Academic Forum minutes – 5 September 2019

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Spectator injuries at sports grounds data

ACT (Action Counter Terrorism) Awareness eLearning

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Tim Burgin

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SGSA Conference 2022




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SGSA Conference 2022

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Guidance on crowd related medical incidents

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SGSA Conference programme overview released

Understanding the steward exemption

UEFA Stadium & Security Webinar 2022

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Licensed standing begins

Martyn Henderson awarded OBE in New Year’s Honours List

2021 – Reasons to be cheerful part 4

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End of year reflections from the Chair

Fan-led Review of Football Governance published

SGSA Conference 2022

First licensed standing grounds announced

Today marks the 10th anniversary of the SGSA

SG03: Event Safety Management webinar

Planning safe events – online training

Licensed standing in seated areas

New SG03: Event Safety Management guidance available to buy

Licensed standing areas at top flight football grounds to be allowed from January

New guidance document brings together the core elements of event safety management

New Event Safety Management guidance published

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Annual Report and Accounts published

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Derek Wilson appointed Chair of SGSA

New spectator safety qualifications

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Sports unite to show nation they are fan ready

Ticketing partners come together to support the return of fans to live sport

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Sports Technology and Innovation Group

Fan experiences at pilots

Ken Scott receives MBE

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SG02: Planning for physical distancing international edition

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2019/20 Injuries at football grounds report released

SG02: Planning for social distancing

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Football Supporters’ Association (FSA) and Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) join to promote fan engagement

Annual Report and Accounts 2019-20

Drones – SGSA Knowledge Series

Football without spectators guidance

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Capacity Calculations – SGSA Knowledge Series

35 years since Bradford tragedy

Taylor Made – 30 years since the formation of the Football Licensing Authority

Women in Sports Grounds Safety

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Reflections on security at future major events

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Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide) – Available to buy

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Viewing archives for safety

Council of Europe Convention Signed

This week the UK Government has signed the Council of Europe Convention on an integrated safety, security and service approach at football matches and other sports events.  We join 14 other countries across Europe who have signed the convention, including France, Russia and Portugal.

This convention is the only internationally binding instrument to establish an integrated approach based on safety, security and service. It also promotes co-operation between all public and private stakeholders: governments, municipal authorities, police, football authorities and also supporters, in order to provide a safe, secure and welcoming environment at football matches and other sports events, whether it be inside or outside the stadia.

Role of Football Authorities and Football Clubs

The key function and responsibility of the football authorities, in particular the event organiser, is to provide stadia that are safe, secure and welcoming for all participants and spectators. This is a complex and multi-faceted responsibility which European experience evidences is best vested in a designated stadium safety officer.

The establishment of effective national multi-agency co-ordination arrangements, highlighted above, can be crucial in providing a forum in which the football authorities and partner agencies can share perspectives and operating imperatives in order to develop a joint partnership ethos and complementary operating strategies.

The national co-ordination arrangements also provide a platform for the football authorities to consult the police and other partner agencies in determining and refining policies on a range of in-stadia safety, security and service considerations, including: ticketing, sale and consumption of alcohol, pyrotechnics, segregation of rival supporters (inside and on the approaches to and from stadia), entry checks and controls, counter-terrorist measures, and threats posed by organised criminality (for example, counterfeit tickets and the unauthorised sale of tickets through the black market).

Provision within the Convention applicable to the UK Football Authorities.

ARTICLE 5 – Safety, Security and Service in Sports Stadia

The Parties shall encourage their competent agencies to highlight the need for players, coaches or other representatives of participating teams to act in accordance with key sporting principles, such as tolerance, respect and fair play, and recognise that acting in a violent, racist or other provocative manner can have a negative impact on spectator behaviour.

ARTICLE 6 – Safety, Security and Service in Public Places

The Parties undertake to encourage all agencies and stakeholders involved in organising football and other sports related events in public spaces, including the municipal authorities, police, local communities and businesses, supporter representatives, football clubs and national associations, to work together, notably in respect of:
a) assessing risk and preparing appropriate preventative measures designed to minimise disruption and provide reassurance to local communities and businesses, in particular those located in the vicinity of where the event is taking place or public viewing areas; and
b) generating a safe, secure and welcoming environment in public spaces that are designated for supporters to gather before and after the event, or locations in which supporters can be expected to frequent of their own volition, and along transit routes to and from the city and/or to and from stadia.

ARTICLE 8 – Engagement with Supporters and Local Communities

The Parties undertake to encourage all agencies to develop and pursue a policy of pro-active and regular communication with key stakeholders, including supporter representatives and local communities, based on the principles of dialogue, and with aim of generating a partnership ethos and positive co-operation as well as identifying solutions to potential problems.

The Parties undertake to encourage all public and private agencies and other stakeholders, including local communities and supporter representatives, to initiate or participate in multi-agency social, educational, crime prevention and other community projects designed to foster mutual respect and understanding, especially amongst supporters, sports clubs and associations as well as safety and security agencies.

View the full Convention text.

Safety – Recommended Good Practices

Annex A (Safety – Recommended Good Practices) provides a wide range of guidance in respect of stadium safety imperatives designed to assist the football authorities and their safety personnel fulfil their crucial safety obligations.


G         Football Authorities and Safety

23.       National governing bodies of football, for example football federations and, if different, the relevant league and cup authorities, have an important role to play and a vested interest in making football stadia safe.  Their role may vary across Europe but usually includes stadium licensing and other regulatory responsibilities  In terms of stadium safety management arrangements, the governing bodies should consider how best to ensure consistency in the approach adopted nationwide through the provision of guidance or instructions, for example:

  • model stadium (ground) regulations setting out conditions of entry, behavioural codes of conduct for spectators, prohibited items and other information (see Appendix 16);
  • minimum stadium safety standards and obligations;
  • provision of advisory services for  stadium safety officers;
  • model agreements between stadium safety officers and the police and other emergency services regarding respective roles and responsibilities.

24.       The participation of the governing bodies in the national co-ordination arrangements should provide opportunity to identify and consider the merits of providing other infrastructural and advisory services and ensure that whatever is proposed is consistent with national laws and regulations and in harmony with the national multi-agency safety, security and service strategy.”

Five top messages from the Green Guide Briefings

Over the last few weeks our Inspectors have been travelling the country on our Green Guide Regional Briefings.  Over 400 people have attended the five sessions we’ve held.  For those unable to attend, here are the top five messages from the briefings:

  1. The most important chapter of the Green Guide is Chapter 1

For those familiar with the previous edition of the Green Guide, it may be easy to dive straight into the detailed chapters in the new sixth edition.  Our advice is don’t miss out chapter 1.  The sixth edition isn’t an updated version, with slight amendments here and there; it’s an entirely rewritten guidance document and should be seen as such.  Chapter 1 includes important points:

  • It is an advisory document for use by competent persons. The Green Guide isn’t for everyone.  It’s for use by people who have sufficient training and experience for its implementation.
  • The Guide applies to the safety of all people present at a sports ground, not just spectators. This includes all staff, players, support teams, etc.  The total number of people in a sports ground must be considered in the calculation of the safe capacity.
  • The Guide is not just for football. Previous editions of the Green Guide have been football focused.  However, we have purposely made the Guide relevant to all sports grounds.
  1. Zone Ex isn’t new

When we were consulting on the new additions to the Green Guide, there was concern about the inclusion of details about Zone Ex – the zone outside the stadium where spectators either arrive or leave via.  Our message is simple: Zone Ex isn’t a new idea.  In the London Olympics in 2012, for example, it was referred to as the Last Mile.  While this area may not be the direct responsibility of the stadium owner, it’s important that all parties – stadium owners, local authorities, police, etc – are involved in the effective management of this zone to ensure that spectators are safe during ingress and egress.

  1. You can deviate from the Green Guide

The Green Guide is a guidance document, not a statutory requirement.  We have spent the last two years working with experts to develop the advice it holds.  However, we know that stadia may want to deviate from what we say, and there’s no problem with that subject to being able to demonstrate that any deviation meets at least the same standard or preferably a higher standard.  Our advice is to keep a list of the deviations, which clearly set out what your deviations are, why you chose to deviate, and details of how the deviations are at least as safe as the advice in the Green Guide.  This may seem like an overly bureaucratic way of working.  However, it’s important to have a written record if something does go wrong.

  1. Annexes and worked examples are available online

The Green Guide is supported by annexes and worked examples which are freely available on the SGSA’s website.  These cover P and S factor questions, guidance on colour vision deficiency, demountable stand checklist and medical room checklist.  We also have worked examples of capacity calculations for football, rugby, cricket and horse racing.

  1. Counter terrorism advice isn’t extensively detailed in the guide

The terrorist attacks in the Stade de France in 2015 and Manchester Arena in 2017 had a significant impact on our updates to the Guide.  10 years ago when the fifth edition was published we weren’t facing the types of threats we do today.  You may be expecting specific, detailed advice on counter terrorism.  While the threats have impacted on a lot of our rewrites, we have purposely not included extensive detail.  The simple reason for this is that the challenges we face change on a regular basis and the sixth edition would already be out of date.  Instead, we are advising people to use the information on the National Counter Terrorism Security Office (NaCTSO) website, along with SGSA’s website.

If you haven’t already done so, you can get your copy of the Green Guide at our website.

Reflections on security at future major events

Today, Ken Scott, Head of Inspectorate at the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) spoke at the Host City 2018 conference. Here, he offers his reflections on security at future major events.

Ensuring safe, enjoyable events is at the heart of what we do at the SGSA. This not only means having a safe environment inside a stadium, but also on the way in and out of the ground…something we refer to as Zone Ex in the newly released sixth edition of the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide).

As we have seen in recent years with the attack at Stade de France and at Manchester Arena, areas directly outside an event can be vulnerable ‘soft’ targets. Stadium and event operators can no longer think about the space outside the stadium in isolation. When considering safety, the sum of all parts is critical to creating as safe an environment as possible for everyone at the ground.

Alongside the Zone Ex, sports grounds operators should think about three clear areas for creating a safe environment:

  1. Security. At times there is a need to consider additional security overlays to manage risks at an event, whether it’s enhanced screening/searching, vehicle barriers, etc. At the same time, consideration must also be given to understanding the unintended consequences of these, for examples increased queues and delayed entry into a sports ground.
  2. Safety. The importance of overlay around a sports ground can sometimes impact upon the safe arrival, circulation and egress of spectators. It’s important that considerations are given when planning any security measures to ensure that safety isn’t compromises.
  3. Customer service. The need to balance safety and security against customer experience remembering this should be an enjoyable sporting event is critical. Fans attend a sports ground to watch and enjoy the spectacle – whether it’s football, rugby, athletics, horse racing, etc, everyone is there for the same reason. Engaging with spectators early on can help to reduce some of the unintended consequences of increased security. This could be providing additional entertainment inside the ground to encourage people to arrive early. The days of someone turning up to a stadium 15 minutes before kick off and expect to be in immediately are a thing of the past, so stadiums need to create ‘incentives’ to encourage early arrivals.

Whilst technology has its part to play, we should never lose sight of the important role of venue staff can play in overall safety equation. The most important asset a sports ground has in terms of safety is the staff. Effective and vigilant staff, who provide excellent customer service to those attending an event are a critical element to a safe, enjoyable experience for fans.

There is a risk attached to every event. The only completely safe stadium is an empty one. But there are ways to manage and mitigate risk effectively to create as safe an environment for fans as possible. The guidance provided within the new edition of the Green Guide offers the expert advice to support this aim.