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Safety Certificate

The Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 places on Local Authority a responsibility for issuing and enforcing safety certificates in respect of sports grounds designated by the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. 

Designated ground

This is a sports ground with a capacity of more than 10,000 spectators or in the case of Premiership or Football League a ground accomodating more than 5,000 spectators.

In accordance with the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987 the local authority should also certify regulated stands at non-designated sports grounds. 

Regulated stand

This is any covered stand that holds 500 or more spectators either seated or standing.

Types of certificates

There are two forms of safety certificates:

  • General Safety Certificate issued for the use of a sports ground for a specified activity, or activities, for an indefinite period.
  • Special Safety Certificate issued for the use of a sports ground for a specified activity or activities on a specified occasion or occasions.

Sports grounds that have been issued with the general safety certificate and intend to use their ground for any other, non-sport activities i.e. firework displays, music concerts, stunt shows, etc should ensure that these activities are included within the terms of their certificate. Otherwise it will be necessary to apply in writting for a special safety certificate at least 28 days before the planned event.

How do I apply?

The process of granting a safety certificate is complex and before any certificate may is issued a consultation process may need to be undertaken.

To apply for either certificate please contact us.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a safety certificate, you must comply with the terms and conditions of a certificate.

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence can be found on the legislation.gov website.

Application Evaluation Process

Applicants must provide requested information and plans to the team within the time specified.

If you fail to provide the information within the specified time the application will be deemed to have been withdrawn. 

We will consider if the applicant is in a position to comply with the terms and conditions of the certificate. The team will then send a copy of an application for a safety certificate to:

  • The Chief Police Officer of the area
  • The Fire and Rescue authority
  • The building authority

Each of these bodies must be consulted about the terms and conditions to be included in the certificate.

Will tacit consent apply?

No. It is in the public interest that the authority must process your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us

Your right of appeal

A sports ground operator may appeal against a decision through the Magistrates Court and they may give such directions as it thinks proper.

Licence holder redress

Please contact us in the first instance.

Making a complaint

If you are concerned about the progress of your application or the quality of the service we provide, please contact us.

Trade Associations

Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA).

Contact us

For information, advice and guidance on spectator safety at sports grounds please contact us.

You can also contact:

Mark Wilson - Technical and Business Manager

Simon Sumner - Principal Trading Standards Officer



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