You must hold a safety certificate if you operate a designated sports ground that holds more than 10,000 spectators, or a Premier League or Football League ground that holds more than 5,000 spectators. You need a safety certificate for any covered stand that holds 500 or more spectators, even if your sports ground doesn’t need a safety certificate.
General safety certificates
AFC Wimbledon Football Club currently holds a general safety certificate issued by Merton Council.
Safety advisory groups
Safety advisory groups (SAGs), chaired by the council, provide the local authority with specialist advice on how it may effectively discharge its responsibilities in overseeing spectator safety at sports grounds. Representatives of AFC Wimbledon's management team, other representatives from the Council and external agencies including the emergency services attend the Safety Advisory Group meetings.
Our policies for reviewing and issuing of safety certificates, monitoring and inspections, and our safety in sports grounds enforcement policy are listed below.
Agreed minutes from previous meetings
- Approved AFCW minutes coming soon
Summary of sports ground safety requirements
Sports stadia with a spectator capacity of more than 10,000 people (5,000 in the case of Premiership or Football League grounds) are designated by the government and must be certified under the Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975.
A general safety certificate will cover use of the stadium for certain specified activities, use for other spectator related purposes will require the issue of a special safety certificate.
A safety certificate will set the permitted capacity for the sports ground together with the detailed terms and conditions with which the ground management must comply in order to operate the sports ground at its permitted capacity.
Although the safety certificate is issued by the local authority, responsibility for the safety of spectators at the sports ground rests at all time with the sports ground management. This will normally be the owner or the lessee of the sports ground.
Any non-designated sports ground which contains a covered stand* with a spectator capacity of more than 500 is deemed a regulated stand and must be certified under the Fire Safety and Safety at Places of Sport Act 1987.
* 'Stand', in relation to a sports ground, means an artificial structure (not merely temporary) which provides accommodation for spectators and is wholly or partly covered by a roof, and, in relation to the number of spectators in a stand provided with covered accommodation, 'covered' means covered by the roof or other part of the structure which constitutes the stand.
What the certificate includes
Requirements in relation to sports grounds are far reaching and will include but will not be restricted to the following:
- Structural integrity of the stand/stadia
- Provisions for means of escape
- Adequate fire precautions
- Emergency services co-ordination
- Provision of suitable management strategies (i.e. stewarding, crowd control, match day safety arrangements, evacuation procedures, contingency plans, etc.)
The certificate holder is under a legal obligation to comply with all terms and conditions contained within the certificate. Certificates are issued to last indefinitely or alternatively may contain an expiry date. Under the legislation the local authority has ongoing control and powers of enforcement so as to ensure reasonable standards of safety are maintained.
The legislation allows for the issue of prohibition notices to prevent spectator access to any sports ground or part when it is considered a safety risk is immediate.
Further information is available from the Sports Grounds Safety Authority website.
Environment and Regeneration