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WHY STADIUMS MUST PLAY IT SAFER THAN EVER AHEAD OF CLOSED KICK OFF

Jun. 17 2020

The Premier League restarts this week with closed games at UK stadiums – a timely reminder that when it comes to basic health and safety requirements, it is fundamental that operators have their houses firmly in order before considering opening ‘closed doors’.

The UK government last month gave the go-ahead for domestic competitive sport behind closed doors from 1 June as part of its 'phase three' guidance – although it is up to individual sports to assess the risk, and consult athletes, coaches and support staff.

However, as experts in building safety and compliance, Bureau Veritas is warning of the importance that UK stadium operators do not rush to restart sporting events without ensuring their core health and safety requirements are up to date.

Support from the experts

Dr Simon Scott from the Bureau Veritas Engineering division, said: “Understandably, as a nation of sports-lovers, there is a huge eagerness to get stadiums and their associated sporting events back up and running in a closed capacity following in suite of other countries like Spain and Germany. However, it is hugely important that operators ensure all vital health and safety requirements are met before considering this approach.

“Even when operating in a closed capacity, for example, operators will need to ensure that they are up to date with their annual written report in order to ensure the structural integrity of the stadium. This should address any wear and tear issues which might have happened during the lockdown period on account of poor weather and reduced maintenance.”

Under the Sports Grounds Safety Authority’s (SGSA) Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds, commonly known as ‘The Green Guide’, as well as other key health and safety regulations, all sports facilities must complete an annual written report this year to ascertain the structural integrity of the stadium. Under this guidance, general visual inspections should be completed annually, but can be upgraded to a specific inspection if a fault is found that needs design and remedial work. 

Compliance management services for sports stadia

Bureau Veritas offers a suite of compliance management services to help clients develop a simple, effective approach to all their compliance requirements. This includes:

Simon adds: “Going forward, there is no doubt that there will be much change to come for the stadia sector as the government and industry seek to meet the challenge of enacting social distancing measures in establishments which were not necessarily designed for it.

“For the foreseeable period in which we look to piloting closed games, it is important then that venues impose extra vigilance on core health and safety needs, ensuring they have a solid foundation in place as they continue to evolve in line with this unprecedented chapter.”

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