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SGSA publishes updated Green Guide for stadia

The Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) has today (Monday) launched its updated Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds, also known as the Green Guide.

The Green Guide is designed to help sports ground owners and operators determine a safety capacity for their venue and is used by architects and designers around the world.

The new guide released today marks the sixth edition and provides expert advice and technical specifications on ensuring a safe environment for spectators.

The SGSA said the publication of the guide is the culmination of two years’ work, which included researching and consulting with organisations across sectors such as football, cricket, rugby, architecture and emergency services.

The guide discusses the role areas outside of the ground play in the safe arrival and departure of spectators, which is referred to as Zone Ex. The document also develops ideas on egress under “exceptional” circumstances when normal exiting is not available because of external incidents. Other areas covered in the document include advances in technology and more innovative designs at sports grounds.

Ken Scott, head of inspectorate at the SGSA, said: “This new edition of the Green Guide reflects the very latest trends and developments in stadium design and safety management, for example the increasing use and sophistication of digital technology, touching on such areas as access control, crowd modelling, CCTV systems and communications. It will be invaluable to everyone involved in managing and designing for safety at sports grounds.”

Brendan Batson, former SGSA board member and West Bromwich Albion footballer, added: “Safety at sports grounds has come a long way since my time as a professional footballer – and the Green Guide has been instrumental in driving this progress. The fact that it is now used around the world as a ‘gold standard’ is testament to the great work of the SGSA and all of its partners in the sporting world. I welcome this new version of the guide, which will again help to raise the bar for safety both here in the UK and across the world.”

As reported by The Times, the guide dictates that stadium operators must produce a plan to protect guests should a terrorist attack either inside or outside the facility. The rule comes in light of recent incidents at the Manchester Arena and the Stade de France in Paris.

Scott told The Times: “Previous planning has been about the usual egress or if there is an emergency such as a fire inside the stadium. The events at the Stade de France (pictured) and the Manchester Arena have changed that.

“If you have an event such as a terrorist attack happening outside the ground and there is a potential danger, what do we do with up to 90,000 people inside the stadium? It’s looking at things such as phased movement of people, or perhaps using the pitch to accommodate people.”

The first edition of the Green Guide was published in 1973. It has since been developed significantly following the tragedies at Bradford City in 1985 and Hillsborough in 1989. The previous edition was published in 2008.

The guide is available to purchase either in hard copy or digitally via the SGSA website.

Image: Zakarie Faibis