The Guide for the safety at Sports Grounds fifth edition known as the green guide was last revised in 2008. Since this time the industry has changed, adapted and moved on in Stadium design, safety and its people. On 15th July 2014, the Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) held a Question Time session for invited guest from the Sports Industry to discuss and debate these issues around: spectator safety at national and international events; application of the Green Guide and developments in crowd management. I was fortunate enough to be invited and attended SGSA HQ at Fleetwood House, London.

Topics for discussion were:

  • The application of the Green Guide at national and international events.
  •  Alternative uses of sports grounds and sharing good practice across sports and events.
  •  Current perspectives on issues such as flow rates, rates of passage and crowd modelling and
  • Future direction for the Green Guide – what are the opportunities and challenges for a 6th edition?

We heard from experienced speakers who have been involved in developing and applying the Green Guide at sports grounds in the UK and overseas. A number of case studies were presented, based on recent experiences in a range of sports and countries. Discussion followed on lessons learnt and applied across the sector.

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There are currently 71 all-seated international, Premier League and Football League grounds in England and Wales. A lot of discussion centred around the important topic of whether the time was now right to allow limited standing at football matches. A number of  “new build” Stadiums are either in construction or have plans to be so in the near future.  Tottenham Hotspurs new stadium is breaking ground ready for its build phase and smaller clubs such as Bolton Wanderers and Scunthorpe United are soon to follow.

Presently once a club has been required to go all seated it must remain so. This is imposed by the licence issued by the SGSA. The specific licence conditions are prescribed in secondary legislation (an Order) made by the Secretary of State under the Football Spectators Act 1989.

Is the time now right to allow admittance of spectators to limited standing accommodation? How will this be written into the 6th Edition? What are the time scales?