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Safety at Sports Grounds

Safety at Sporting Events and Stadia

Safety in a sports ground is achieved by establishing a balance between good management and good design. “The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds" - published by the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA), currently in its 6th edition, and often known as the Green Guide - provides guidance on how to achieve this.

Sports stadia with a spectator capacity of more than 10,000 people (5,000 in the case of Premiership or Football League grounds) are designated by the government and must be certified under the Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975. Tottenham Hotspur Football Club is a designated sports stadium within Haringey.

In addition, the Football Spectators Act 1989 requires the SGSA to issue an annual licence to each Premier or Football League ground. The SGSA has a statutory review function and carries out a combination of:

  • Meetings with the certifying authority and other appropriate parties
  • Attendance at meetings of the safety advisory group
  • Monitoring of the safety certificate and records required to be kept under the terms and conditions of the safety certificate
  • Sample checks and observations at the sports grounds concerned on match and non-match days.

Any non-designated sports ground which contains a covered stand with a spectator capacity of more than 500 people is deemed a regulated stand and must be certified under the Fire Safety and Safety at Places of Sport Act 1987. New River Sport and Fitness Centre has a regulated stand within Haringey.

A general safety certificate is required to cover use of the stadium for certain specified activities. Use for other spectator related purposes will require the issue of a special safety certificate.

A safety certificate issued by the local authority will agree:

  • The permitted capacity for the sports ground
  • Detailed terms and conditions that the ground management must comply with in order to operate the sports ground at its permitted capacity

Although the safety certificate is issued by the local authority, responsibility for the safety of spectators at the sports ground rests at all times with the sports ground management. This will normally be the owner or the lessee of the sports ground.

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Haringey Building Control Service (the Council) is responsible for providing advice and guidance on Safety at Sports Grounds and the issuing of Safety Certificates within the Borough.

Legislative requirements in relation to sports grounds are far reaching and will include, but will not be restricted to, the following:

  • Structural integrity of the stand/stadia
  • Provisions for means of escape
  • Adequate fire precautions
  • Emergency services co-ordination
  • Provision of suitable management strategies (ie stewarding, crowd control, match day safety arrangements, evacuation procedures, contingency plans, etc)

When all matters related to safety are in place a Safety Certificate can be issued. To ensure compliance with any conditions of the Certificate regular inspections are carried out.

The Council may serve a Prohibition Notice in respect of all or part of the Stadium, if it considers that the admission of spectators involves or will involve a risk to them so serious that the admission of spectators ought to be restricted or prohibited.

Where there is a Designated Sports stadium with a safety certificate – a Safety Advisory Group (SAG) is set up. This is a multi-agency group formed at local level to ensure that the sports ground remains compliant with the conditions of the safety certificate and with other relevant or international standards; typically consisting of representatives of the local authority, ground management, police, fire, ambulance services, SGSA etc. Haringey Building Control Service works to protect public safety, and co-ordinates the Safety Advisory Group for Tottenham Hotspur Football Club.

Building Control
Level 5, Alexandra House
10 Station Road
Wood Green
N22 7TR

Tel: 020 8489 5504

Email: building.control@haringey.gov.uk

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Page last updated:

August 14, 2023