SGSA’s Spectator Safety in a Changing World Conference is a Soaring Success

Spectator Safety in a Changing World Conference 9 May 2016

The SGSA’s annual conference saw almost 200 spectator safety professionals come together at the Emirates Stadium in London, on Monday, to discuss the pressing issues of the moment and to consider the future of sports grounds safety.

With an exceptional line-up of speakers from across the safety community covering issues of safety and security, accessibility, crowd psychology, stadium design and supporter engagement the event provided a forum for stimulating discussions and lively debate.

The opening panel set the tone for the day setting out their challenges and priorities for the future. DCMS Director, Clare Pillman first offering her thanks to all those who work so hard to ensure people can enjoy going to watch sport in safety, before reiterating the Government’s commitment to those spectating as well as participating in sport.

LaLiga Integrity and Security Director, Alfredo Lorenzo provided an insightful session on the safety and security challenges faced by Spanish clubs in the wake of the terrorist attacks in Paris last year. He challenged the audience to consider how we can sustain our security response in the long term, and also shared some of the work the league does to engage with supporters.

A series of workshops provided delegates with an opportunity to pick topics most relevant to them and explore the subject in more detail. Sessions included discussions on the Green Guide developments and learning about the Emirates airlines’ approach to customer service and managing challenging people.

The hush in room was palpable when journalist, David Conn shared his experiences of the Hillsborough Inquests and gave his thoughts on what they mean for the safety community. His reflections about the tragedies were incredibly moving as he talked about how we must remember that the people who died were individuals and not a badly behaved crowd. And as newly appointed SGSA Chief Inspector, Ken Scott said, “the Inquests are a sombre reminder of what can happen when we don’t all work together”.

With representatives from sports clubs and grounds, local authorities, sports governing bodies, emergency services, government and industry, the event was attended by those across the safety community and from up and down the country.

Chief Executive Karen Eyre-White said “It was fantastic to see so many people who care so passionately about what they do, together, engaged, and discussing how we will together address the challenges of keeping spectator safe in an ever changing world. “