Sports grounds safety

Sports grounds safety certificate

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. A general safety certificate will cover use of the stadium for certain specified activities, use for other spectator related purposes will require the issue of a special safety certificate. Any non-designated sports ground which contains a covered stand with a spectator capacity of more than 500 is deemed a regulated stand and must be certified under the Fire Safety and Safety at Places of Sport Act 1987

What is a sports ground?

The Act defines a sports ground as a place where sports or other competitive activities take place in the open air, and where accommodation has been provided for spectators, consisting of artificial structures, or of natural structures artificially modified for the purpose.

Responsibility for safety

Although the safety certificate is issued by the local authority, responsibility for the safety of spectators at the sports ground rests at all time with the sports ground management. This will normally be the owner or the lessee of the sports ground. Further information on sports ground safety is available from the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA).

How to apply

If you think you need to apply for a sports ground safety certificate, please contact the Licensing Team. You will need to complete and application form and pay the correct fee.

Application evaluation process 

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 coordination
  • provision of suitable management strategies (i.e. stewarding, crowd control, match day safety arrangements, evacuation procedures, contingency plans, etc.

The certificate holder is under a legal obligation to comply with all terms and conditions contained within the certificate. Certificates are issued to last indefinitely or alternatively may contain an expiry date. Under the legislation we have ongoing control and powers of enforcement so as to ensure reasonable standards of safety are maintained. The legislation allows for the issue of prohibition notices to prevent spectator access to any sports ground or part when it is considered a safety risk is immediate