The English Football League (EFL) has revealed details of Enable, a new research-led crowd management project that it hopes can transform the way matches are policed and stewarded.
Through the project, the EFL will look to work with police forces and football clubs across the EFL to identify and evaluate innovative approaches to safety and security during matches.
Enable is designed to assist police forces and clubs to develop effective and financially sustainable approaches to crowd management.
The EFL will support the project for the next two years. Enable is being coordinated by Professor Clifford Scott of Keele University and will place a particular focus on match-day policing and stewarding used by several forces and clubs.
Lancashire Police, Staffordshire Police, West Yorkshire Police, South Wales Police and West Midlands Police, along with their respective local clubs, are already contributing to the programme, with British Transport Police also overseeing the policing of the rail network.
John Nagle, head of policy for the EFL, said: “The safety and enjoyment of match-going spectators is always of critical importance to the EFL and its clubs. We therefore welcome the opportunity to work with the Enable team to help them continue their pioneering work.
“The aim of the project is to promote collaboration between football clubs and police forces in order to encourage an ongoing, progressive dialogue about the best and most efficient ways to police football matches and to help them develop cutting-edge crowd management techniques.
“In doing so, improving the match-day experience for supporters and helping to reduce the financial burden on club and policing budgets, which are often stretched to the limit.”
Professor Scott added: “For the first time in the UK we now have an opportunity to examine the complex issues surrounding crowd management in football in a more objective way. Because our project also involves all of the key stakeholders, it will ensure the rapid uptake of our research in ways that will help our partners quickly embed good policy and practice in evidence-led ways.
“We hope by working together our collaborative work will lead to very positive outcomes and help enhance security, improve supporter safety and empower fans’ positive experiences at football grounds across the country.”
Enable is also supported by the Football Supporters’ Association, which will be integrated into the project through a place on its steering committee.
Image: Christopher Elkins