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Stadium use is changing and venue owners are seeking new, alternative ways to bring in revenue through concerts, conferences and other events


staff. There are eight inspectors, each responsible for between 12 and 14 clubs. Having a dedicated person for each club further enhances the relationship that the SGSA has with its ‘clients’.


SHIFTING CHALLENGES The challenges to safety at stadiums have changed since SGSA was launched in 1989. The number one threat then, hooliganism, still exists, but tough measures have made it much less prevalent than it was. For example, standing is no longer allowed in the top two football divisions and there are tighter controls on alcohol consumption. When asked for their views on the biggest challenges in the current climate, both Riding and Coppin are clear – complacency kills. “The biggest challenge is to avoid the feeling that the job has been done,” Coppin says. “It’s very easy – but dangerous – to think that we don’t need to invest in spectator safety as nothing has happened in the UK for so long.”


He adds that the dynamic nature of sports, its fan culture and the increased need to create revenue-generating events at stadiums are further reasons to avoid complacency. “The threats to safety are ever changing. For example, we’ve seen an increase in the number of pyrotechnics at stadiums and there is the emerging threat of drones over sports grounds. “Stadium use is changing too and venue


owners are seeking new ways to bring in revenue, through concerts, conferences and other events. These types of events bring different challenges for spectator safety professionals.” When it comes to assessing these risk


factors, SGSA’s work outside the UK gives the organisation a unique perspective to compare stadium safety – and challenges to it – in a number of environments. Both Coppin and Riding agree that SGSA


can further strengthen its role as a global leader in safety. “Internationally there are different challenges and we expect our


sportsmanagement.co.uk issue 2 2015 © Cybertrek 2015


extensive experience in spectator safety will help different sports in different territories to tackle these challenges,” says Coppin. “There are many lessons that we’ve learned throughout our work in the UK since 1989 and I’d like to see those lessons to improve safety elsewhere.”


FOREIGN AID Outside the UK, SGSA is perhaps best known for producing The Green Guide, which provides detailed guidance to ground management and technical specialists – such as architects and engineers – to assist them with stadium safety. It has become a global ‘industry bible’ and has opened the door for SGSA to become an authoritative player in venue security. “As authors of The Green Guide, we


have an excellent reputation globally,” Riding says. “More or less every stadium in the past 20 years has used the guide as a standard to work to – mainly because most governments do not have a standard


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