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Safety at Sports Grounds

Sports Grounds Safety Certification

The safety certification systems by Local Authorities were established by the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 ( and apply in Scotland as in England and Wales.

In addition, any organisers of a sports event, whether or not the venue is covered by the 1975 or 1987 Acts, will be subject to the health and safety requirements set out in the Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974. Information on these acts can be found below.

The Health and Safety at Work etc Act 1974

Is a reserved piece of legislation, makes it the prime responsibility of the event organiser (whether an individual, collective or local authority) for protecting the health, safety and welfare of everyone working at, or attending, the event.

The Guide to Health, Safety and Welfare at Music and Similar Events (the Purple Guide), produced by the Health and Safety Executive, brings together information needed by event organisers, their contractors and employees to help them satisfy the requirements of the 1974 Act and associated regulations. Further information can be found on the Health and Safety Executive entertainment Webpages (

Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975

The Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 was passed following the disaster at Ibrox Stadium in 1971 and Lord Wheatley's subsequent report. It was introduced to address primarily the issue of safety of spectators at sports/football stadia where large numbers of people attend.

Following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 and Lord Justice Taylor's report, the then Scottish Office agreed to the implementation of the key Taylor recommendations in Scotland on a voluntary basis by the football authorities.

Under the 1975 Act, Scottish Ministers designate stadia requiring a General Safety Certificate from the appropriate local authority. Stadia subject to designation are those which in the opinion of the Scottish Ministers have accommodation, whether seated, standing or a combination of the two, for more than 10,000 spectators.

The fifth edition of the Guide to Safety of Sport Grounds (The Green Guide) was published in 2008.

There is also a recently published Pink Guide on the risk based assessment of Safety Management that expands on the advice on safety management in the Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds. It updates and brings together into a single publication previous guidance on spectator safety policies, contingency planning, exercise planning and briefing, as well as providing new detailed guidance to assist ground management in developing operation manuals, stewarding plans and medical plans. The pink Guide can be purchased from the Sports ground Safety Authority (SGSA Pink Guide).

More information on General Safety Certification under the 1975 Act can be obtained by contacting the relevant local authority.

Fire Safety and Safety at Places of Sport Act 1987

The Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987 provides for a system of safety certification by local authorities for certain covered stands - known as "regulated stands" - at sports grounds, and for subsequent inspections. This Act applies to all outdoor sports grounds, whatever their use, where there is a covered stand (i.e. with seated or standing accommodation) which can accommodate at least 500 spectators.

More information on safety certification under the 1987 Act can be obtained by contacting the relevant local authority.