Sports stadia with a spectator capacity of more than 10,000 people are designated by the government and must be certified under the Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975

Ground safety

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 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.

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 (such as stewarding, crowd control, match day safety arrangements, evacuation procedures, contingency plans).

Designated sports stadia and regulated stands must be certified under the relevant Acts. Building Control in consultation with the Police, Fire and Ambulance Service (through the operation of a safety team chaired by the Head of Service) issue certificates and monitor their performance.

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, this authority issue certificates on an annual basis. Use of the stadia after the expiry date would be an offence and necessitate the certificate being renewed. Under the legislation the local authority has ongoing control and powers of enforcement so as to ensure reasonable standards of safety are maintained. During performance checks are made and a complete review of the certificate must be carried out at least annually.

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.