Release Date: Dec 18, 2010
Procedures Planning and Organising of High Risk Football Matches
To enable Associations and Clubs to fully prepare for and manage high risk football matches, the IFA has taken the responsible step of drawing up a procedure document detailing a planning process which aims to ensure the safety of spectators, players and officials.
The IFA developed this process alongside Belfast City Council, The Police Service of Northern Ireland and The Sports Council for Northern Ireland. A meeting, attended by representatives from the parties involved, was recently held at the Park Avenue Hotel to discuss and sign off the document.
The document highlights to clubs and associations that safety should not be seen as a set of rules or conditions imposed by others but rather as standards set from within which reflect the safety culture of their organisation.
This procedure has been developed to assist Clubs and Associations to establish appropriate standards with the overall aim to provide a framework for an agreed decision making process when categorising and planning matches based on risk. In particular it:
* Sets out a mechanism for the identification and planning of high, medium and low risk games
* Facilitates a consistent approach to planning by establishing clear rules and guidelines regarding issues such as ticketing, the sale of alcohol, etc.
* Establishes agreed standards and provides a robust audit trail should a major accident or incident occur.
IFA Chief Executive Howard Wells spoke of the importance of developing procedures to ensure safety within the game.
"The safe management of all sports events is fundamental and is the responsibility of every governing body in sport to take this very seriously so that we can begin to attract more people to the game within a safe environment. To do this we have had to work very closely with and enlist the services and expertise of all parties involved, the PSNI, Sports Council of NI and the local Council's health and safety departments to be able to develop the policy which can be applied. This means that we integrate with the clubs on a match by match basis to ensure that risk management is assessed and properly dealt with. It is essential that we recognise and respect the need the game more professionally and that all partners are signed up to that."
Belfast City Council were deeply involved with the project and the Chair of CEHOG, Sam Knox thought it was a significant step forward for all involved.
"On behalf of the Chief Environmental Health Officer's Group (CEHOG) I have very great pleasure in endorsing this procedure for planning and organising soccer matches. It is a key document in that it represents a strategic approach to safety management planning at soccer matches. The procedure will facilitate a consistent approach to planning by establishing clear rules and guidelines regarding issues such as ticketing and the sale of alcohol at matches. It is a very practical document and it will assist clubs and associations across Northern Ireland to establish appropriate and consistent safety management standards."
The Sports Council for Northern Ireland also gave their support to the document, believing it to be a significant and responsible duty of the IFA.
"The Sports Council for Northern Ireland welcomes the Irish Football Association's initiative. This is one of a number of measures that will upgrade safety arrangements at our sporting venues."
Chief Superintendent Stephen Grange from the Police Service of Northern Ireland welcomed the new policies and procedures which he said would help ensure that everyone can enjoy football right across Northern Ireland safely.
"Having clear standardised guidelines that clubs right across Northern Ireland and all of their partner agencies can sign up to is a major step forward for everyone. A large number of people attend football matches on a weekly basis and safety is of paramount importance. Detailed planning and assessing risks is a key part in ensuring the safety of fans, players and officials, and these new policies and procedures can only enhance our ability to this."
Download the full Planning Procedures document.