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INTERVIEW


for safety at sports stadiums. We also work closely with the Council of Europe and sit on its committee for spectator violence, which was set up after the 1985 Heysel disaster to provide guidance to governments on legislative means to reduce football violence. “We’ve provided consultative visits


to many countries throughout Europe. In the past five or six years, I’ve been to Romania, Cyprus, Serbia and we inspected all the stadiums for the UEFA 2012 Euro Championships in Ukraine and Poland.” Riding names the Euro 2012 project as the most challenging he has undertaken for SGSA. “UEFA wanted us to inspect and do a report on all eight stadiums, so we travelled across Poland and Ukraine to inspect them,” he says. “We met all the fan groups, local organisers, produced a report and then set up two training sessions – one each in Poland and Ukraine – to train all the safety officers, police and event organisers. “The timescale was very tight, it is a summer tournament and UEFA contacted us in December 2011. We also had to allow time for our recommendations to be implemented – but we did it.” Completing prestigious projects such


as Euro 2012 confirms SGSA’s position as a major player internationally, but there is a limit to the amount of work it can


36


SGSA helped train the stewards for the UEFA 2012 European Championships in Ukraine and Poland (above). Rick Riding inspecting a stadium (below)


and do some work for UEFA to advise them on steward training, like we did for the 2012 tournament, we could then look at some of the training providers in the UK with the view of them providing the training for UEFA members.”


INTO THE FUTURE When quizzed on SGSA’s future, the word “complacency” re-emerges and it is clear that Riding wants to make sure SGSA stays ahead of the curve when it comes to all aspects of safety. One of the tasks at hand is to update existing guidance. “I think over the next two years we will


have to rewrite The Green Guide,” he says. “There have been a lot of developments – not just in technology, but all aspects of safety – which we need to include in an updated The Green Guide. “For an example, there is nothing in the


do abroad – partly due to its status as a not-for-profit organisation. “We can only recover costs”, Riding says. “So we’re not commercially driven. “Rather, our key aim are to raise


standards and to promote UK PLC, acting as a sort of conduit. For example, if we go


current guide about crowd modelling, so we will need to include that. There have also been great improvements in fire safety engineering and medical provisions for first responders, so those are two areas that need to be looked at. “There’s a lot of work to do and I think that it’s going to be a two-year project, but renewing the guide is paramount as we want to keep it as the global standard for stadium safety design and management.” l


sportsmanagement.co.uk issue 2 2015 © Cybertrek 2015


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