Can the New Football Violence Act Provide the Means for Efficient Safety Management in Football Grounds in Cyprus


Master's Thesis, 2016
81 Pages, Grade: 72

Excerpt

Table of Contents

Abstract

Chapter ONE - Introduction
1.1. Introduction
1.2. Football safety management
1.3. Football violence in Cyprus
1.4. The Act against violence at sports grounds
1.5. Research aims and objectives
1.6. Outline

Chapter TWO- Literature Review
2.1. Theoretical background
2.2. Safety management in football grounds
2.3. Football disasters
2.4. Aftermath
2.5. Duties and responsibilities
2.6. Safety & Security planning
2.7. Football grounds operations
2.8. Football grounds infrastructure
2.9. Beliefs and arguments

Abstract

It recently became apparent that it was imperative to amend the “On the Prevention and Suppression of Violence at Sports Grounds Act 2008”, as football violence incidents were increasing dramatically.

The new Act was voted by the House of Representatives in August 2014 containing in total 77 articles which clearly define and segregate the duties and responsibilities of all parties involved in a sporting event.

Learning from past football disasters and tragedies, safety management has become today one of the main concerns for the organisers. It is imperative to learn from those incidents and use their findings as a guide to avoid similar tragedies today.

The research is aiming to specify and report the duties and responsibilities resulting from the new football violence Act and identify whether it can provide the means for efficient safety management in football grounds in Cyprus.

List of figures

Figure 1: Football disorder incidents in Cyprus

Figure 2: First Division attendance

Figure 3: The trinity of safety, security and service

Figure 4: The research “onion”

Figure 5: The deductive research approach

Figure 6: The inductive research approach

List of charts

Chart 1: How often to you travel to the stadium to watch a football game?

Chart 2: How safe are football grounds today?

Chart 3: How important is the Stewarding system in football grounds?

Chart 4: How would you describe the police presence at football grounds today?

Chart 5: Can the Act provide the means for efficient safety in football grounds?

Chart 6: Do you believe that the fan card will help solving the violence problem?

Chart 7: Are you going to issue a fan card when implemented?

List of tables

Table 1: Major football disasters

Table 2: Comparison of four research philosophies

Table 3: Quantitative and qualitative approach methods

Table 4: Football stadium capacities

Table 5: Football stadium facilities

Table 6: Licensed stewards in Cyprus

Table 7: Infrastructure and facilities obervation check list

List of pictures

Picture 1: The Burnden Park disaster

Picture 2: The Ibrox disaster

Picture 3: The Valley Parade disaster

Picture 4: The Heysel disaster

Picture 5: The Hillsborough disaster

Chapter ONE - Introduction

1.1. Introduction

The large amount of violence incidents between rival spectators inside and outside the venues is currently the main problem of football in Cyprus. For decades, the authorities have been trying different ways to combat violence at sports venues, a phenomenon which through the years, mainly due to impunity, has spread immensely. Hooligans felt unbeatable and the authorities seemed unable to suppress the violence in sports venues

Various committees were appointed mainly after serious incidents during football games or after a political decision by the government, but it was never a result of an in-depth research and study. Over the years it became apparent that it was imperative to improve the Act and define through a new one the duties and responsibilities of all parties involved in sporting events

The enactment of the amended Act in 2014 by the House of Representatives was the beginning of a tough and uneven under the circumstances battle against violence in football. The main element of the Act is to provide the means for an efficient safety management in football grounds in Cyprus

1.2. Football safety management

Football safety management sets a series of actions and procedures, in order to provide a safe environment to the participants in a football event. It provides the necessary guidance and advice to match organisers and brings together all the strands of best practice and knowledge for managing safety in football (Frosdick and Whalley, 1999).

On a match day most people watch football at home but many fans take the opportunity to travel to the stadium itself to enjoy the spectacle and be part of the experience. For match organisers an event begins by the time the event is set until the time the supporters return safe to their home. All the partners involved in a football match share a single target, to create a safe, secure and welcoming environment for the spectators (UEFA, 2012).

If fans enjoy the event they are more likely to return to the venue again and spend more time and money and express their love for football. In an event flow the supporters go from home to the venue and back home again, passing through different stages, with one stage leading to the next, all interconnected, with the visit to the match being the highlight. If the fans are treated well, they will be far more likely to behave in a positive and responsible way.

1.3. Football violence in Cyprus

Football in Cyprus is the most popular sport and more than half million spectators each year visit the first division football games (Appendix 1). The phenomenon of football violence in Cyprus and the first incidents between rival spectators goes back in the late 40’s, when Cyprus had a rapid politicisation of the population due to the growth of the political parties and football teams were marked according to their ideological beliefs, separated into left and right wing teams. The politicisation of football continues in nowadays, while localism has recently surfaced, making these the two, the main reasons for triggering violence in football (O'Boyle, 2013).

In the mid 80’s and onwards, the ultra-fans startedorganising their fan clubs and today all first division teams have their own fan clubs. It is a fact and a well-known secret that these fan clubs are fully controlled by the ultras and the police is unable to restrain them. The football clubs are afraid to go against them and due to impunity they become stronger every year. Almost every disorder incident today involves ultra-fans.

Incidents highlight

On 9th August 2012, Anorthosis FC was facing FC Dila Gori for an UEFA Europa League match. The match was abandoned on the 83rd minute due to pitch invasion from Anorthosis fans, after conceiving a goal. The UEFA Control and Disciplinary Body eliminated the Club from the Europa League and in addition to that, they had to play their next three European games behind closed doors and pay a fine of € 50000 EUR (UEFA.com, 2012).

On 23rd April 2014, APOEL FC was facing AEL FC in Nicosia for the Championship. APOEL FC ultra-fans were heading to the match and just outside the stadium they came across the ultra-fans of AEL FC. They started throwing stones at each other and a 27-year-old man lost his eye when a rock hit him while he was in the car with his father going to the match. The young man was not even involved in the clash. The police used tear gas to disperse the fights and nine people were arrested.

On 17th May 2014, AEL FC was facing APOEL FC in Limassol for the Championship. The two teams were playing for the Championship with AEL FC needing a draw and APOELC FC a win to secure the title. The score was 0-0 and on 51st minute a firecracker thrown by AEL ultra-fans, hit one of APOEL players on the head as he was sitting on the bench. The referee abandoned the game and the safety officer with the police had to evacuate the stadium. The game was replayed one week later behind closed doors (Mail Online, 2014).

On 20th May 2015, APOEL FC was facing AEL FC for the Cup final. On 60th minute APOEL FC scored a goal (3-1) and the opposite team’s ultra-fans started throwing stones, seats and fireworks onto the pitch and they set fire to the chairs. The game was interrupted by the referee for 60 minutes. During the interruption, the police clashed with the fans and one Riot Squad Police officer was taken to the hospital with arm injuries. Three fans were arrested (Cyprus, 2015).

In early 2015, Cyprus Football Association had to postpone all first division matches after a bombing attack against one of the top referee of Cyprus (Mail Online, 2015). This was the fourth bombing attack during the season and the sixth since 2014, all connected to football violence.

It is worth pointing out that every year, at the beginning of each European season, UEFA is organising a Security Conference with the participation of all the clubs playing in the group stage, the stadium’s safety officers and the police. In the 2012 congress, the various incidents that occurred during the European games of the Cypriot clubs in 2011 were used by UEFA as examples in the workshops. The congress’ outcome was that Cyprus has a football disorder problem that had to be resolved immediately.

According to official National Football Information Point - NFIP (Appendix 2) reports, from 2010 to 2014, the police recorded 155 disorder incidents related to football.

Figure 1: Football disorder incidents in Cyprus

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Source: National Football Information Point - Cyprus

The above figures indicate an uptrend in disorder incidents with an average of thirty incidents per year and an average of seven incidents per game.

Some games were abandoned by the referees after serious disorder incidents and racist behavior, while the police and stadium safety management were unable to control the chaos inside and outside the football grounds.

Consequences

Due to football violence and disorder, many spectators have stopped visiting the football grounds. They feel unsafe and with the police being unable to change the situation, year after year numbers fall dramatically. Clubs are unable to solve the problem despite the fact that they are trying to increase their income from gate receipts and other marketing models like reduction of ticket prices, free tickets etc. As long as football grounds are not safe, spectators will not attend any football games. According to the official attendance reports of the last six years (Appendix 1), for the First Division, the attendance in 2009-2010 was 603000 spectators while in 2014-2015, 413000 spectators.

Figure 2: First Division attendance

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Source: Cyprus Football Association statistics

The above figures show clearly that every year the attendance has a downturn and comparing 2009-2010 to 2014-2015, there is a decrease of 33%. One of the main reasons for this decrease is the unsafe environment that exists in the football grounds.

The Cyprus government in an effort to combat and resolve football violence, decided in early 2014 to amend the Act and include additional articles believing that this will provide the means for efficient safety management in football grounds.

1.4. The Act against violence at sports grounds

The “On the Prevention and Suppression of Violence at Sports Grounds Act 2008” was voted by the House of Representatives in 2008 and it was based on the Act of 1994, the recommendations of the Council of Europe, the decisions and resolutions of the European Union, and the UK Football (Disorder) Act 2000.

Some articles regarding stadium infrastructure have had a transitional period of three years, due to the fact that most venues in Cyprus are old and it was almost impossible for their owners to install a CCTV system and an electronic ticketing and access system in such a short period of time. Although the House of Representatives voted the three-year transitional period in 2008 and again in 2011, the stadium owners did not proceed with any structural improvements.

In June 2014, because of the serious incidents during that period, the Ministry of Justice and Public Order decided to revise the 2008 Act and add 13 new articles, strengthening the preventing measures in order to end anonymity and suppress hooliganism.

In September 2014, the amended Act was voted by the House of Representatives and now contains 77 articles which clearly define and segregate the duties and responsibilities of all parties involved in a sporting event.

1.5. Research aims and objectives

The research is aiming at identifying and reporting these duties and responsibilities and specifying whether the Act can provide the means for efficient safety management in football grounds in Cyprus.

The research is therefore intended to address and answer the following questions:

1. How did the various disasters in other football grounds change safety management procedures?
2. What are the duties and responsibilities of all parties involved in a sporting event according to the Act?
3. Which are the ways to achieve a safe, secure and welcoming environment in football grounds?
4. How can football grounds operate to provide high level safety, security and service?

1.6. Outline

To explore these objectives, this dissertation has five chapters: Introduction, Literature Review, Research Methodology, Results and Analysis, and Conclusion. Further analytical information is provided in the appendices.

Chapter one justifies the topic of the dissertation and introduces the research questions. Chapter two reviews and critically analyses the academic literature pertinent to the research questions. Chapter three justifies the chosen research methodology, philosophy, approach, design, and practice. Chapter four presents the findings in relation to the literature reviewed in Chapter two. Chapter five concludes the research by drawing all the key points and identifying the recommendation resulting from the research.

Chapter TWO- Literature Review

The purpose of this chapter is to review and critically analyse the academic literature pertinent to the research questions.

2.1. Theoretical background

In modern society, football has been linked to the phenomenon of commercialisation and competition. A consequence of this connection is the surface of disorder and violence.

“Hooliganism" is the disruptive, antisocial and violent behaviour of fans that disrupt normal activities. Hooliganism incidents are usually considered as the clashes between supporters of different teams, insulting or racist behaviour, throwing objects, use of flares or other flammable materials, pitch invasion etc. (Frosdick and Marsh, 2005).

Since the early years, violence was an integral part of football. Football has been associated with violence since the 13th century in England and according to Carnibella et al (1996), the game of ‘ball capturing’ took place between neighbouring villages and was played with different rules from place to place. The competition involved young men of rival villages that often used this opportunity to settle personal arguments and land disputes. The various violence incidents forced Edward II to ban football in 1314.

Football violence can take various forms such as hand-to-hand fighting between rival supporters, or it can involve up to hundreds of fans armed with knives and weapons and it can take place in many other sporting events besides football. As a form of behaviour, the disorderliness is complex and many-sided. In popular usage, the label embraces swearing and minor misdemeanours. In more serious incidents, the label refers to deliberately pitch invasions and large scale fracas between opposing fan groups that are often violent and destructive (Dunning, et al, 1986).

The violent behaviour of supporters has been for decades the biggest problem in football. Germany, Netherlands, Italy, United Kingdom, and many others, have experienced (and some still do) the larger problems of football violence.

Ultra-fans have taken over the years the control in the stadiums. They tend to have their own banners, flags and symbols and they are organised in different locations. They have revenue from selling their merchandise and they number hundreds of members. For them, being an ultra-fan is a specific attitude to life and they love their club irrespective of its management (Pilz, 2010).

2.2. Safety management in football grounds

According to Whalley (2008), all partners involved in a football match share the same responsibility, to maintain a balance between the three elements of safety management. The trinity of safety, security and service form a three key concept which although they are used together, they are three different things.

Service is the most visible element and refers to providing an exciting spectacle to the fans, having suitable and sufficient amenities, such as food and drinks, merchandise and sanitary facilities (Chalmers and Frosdick, 2011).

Figure 3: The trinity of safety, security and service

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Safety is the less visible part and starts with structural design and maintenance of the venue to prevent collapsing of the buildings. It manages venue capacities and deals with aspects of human behaviours, emergencies and evacuations in case of serious incidents (Chalmers and Frosdick, 2011).

Security, on the other hand, is about the prevention and detection of crime, terrorist attacks and threats and maintaining public order.

These three elements are interrelated and an overemphasis on security could sometimes cause safety and service problems. For example, if the venue management decides for security reasons to lock the doors in order to prevent people from entering the venue without tickets, this could create safety problems in case of an emergency evacuation. Therefore, safety and security must always be kept in balance (Frosdick and Whalley 1999).

The single overarching objective can be expanded into six main pillars (UEFA, 2012):

- Venue safety: Making sure that the venue is maintained in a proper condition.
- Venue security: Preventing unauthorised people from entering the venue in any way.
- Crowd management: Making sure that spectators can get into the venue, watch the event and leave safely.
- People safety: Ensuring that the venue staff is safe and looks out for other people.
- Spectator experience: Supporting the event making sure that it is exciting, enjoyable and comfortable for the fans.
- Success of the event: Supporting the main objective of the event which is to be profitable, safe and sustainable.

These six aims have not always been achieved in the past as many disasters occurred having tragic results. These disasters show that venues can be so secure but at the same time very unsafe. Although things might be well planned and structured, things can always go wrong (UEFA, 2012).

2.3. Football disasters

During the last 70 years many tragedies and disasters occurred in various football venues and the official findings and reports fundamentally changed safety management and event policing. It is because of these disasters and mainly after the various reports and recommendations that things started changing. Safety today is considered as top level priority.

The following disasters are examples of bad safety management.

Table 1: Major football disasters

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Burnden Park disaster │ 1946

On 9th March 1946, Bolton was facing Stoke City in an FA Cup Quarter Final game. As the game was only six months after the end of World War II, the stadium was still in use by the government and the Burnden Stand was not available to the fans. This meant that 9000 fans that had tickets for that stand would have to enter from another gate and escorted around the pitch.

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Picture 1: The Burnden Park disaster

Source: Sports Journalists' Association

The stadium management and the police were not prepared to accommodate that amount of people and 20 minutes before kick-off, they decided that the gates must close. This, however, did not stop people from entering the venue as they started climbing over the gates, while others removed some fences and entered the venue.

A few minutes after the kick-off, two barriers collapsed under the weight of thousands of people, and everyone started entering onto the pitch to get away from the crush. The referee stopped the game to allow the police to push the spectators back, over the side line.

The game restarted but the police officer spoke to the referee and informed him that they had fatality on the stands and he had to stop the game again. Half an hour later the game restarted while dead bodies were lying on the side lines, covered with coats. The game finished as if nothing had happened with the players not knowing what really happened. It was later estimated that the crowd was in excess of 85000 people.

Thirty-three people died that day and more than four hundred were injured.

Moelwyn Hughes in his official report recommended limitations on crowd size in all venues with a capacity over 25000 spectators. All venues inspected and agreed that they should set safety limits and the turnstiles should record the spectator numbers to control the crowd entrance (Hughes, 1946).

Ibrox disaster │ 1971

On 2nd January 1971, Rangers was facing Celtic at Ibrox Stadium, with the attendance being more than 80000. The match was heading for a 0-0 draw when Celtic scored in the 89th minute. With seconds to go, Rangers scored an equalizer and nothing foreboded the tragic events to follow (Graham, 2004).

The tragedy occurred when Rangers fans left the stadium using the Staircase 13. It is believed that the crush was caused by the downward force of the large amount of spectators leaving at the same time, while the initial reports say that the tragedy was caused when hundreds of Rangers fans left the match believing that Celtic had won and when they heard the crowd celebrating their goal, some of them attempted to go back, causing a mass confusion on the stairs (Collier and Taylor, 2010). Another possibility is that a child being carried on his father’s shoulders fell, causing a massive chain reaction.

Sixty-six people died and more than two hundred were injured. It is the worst disaster in the history of Scottish football and the biggest in British football until the Hillsborough disaster in 1989.

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Picture 2: The Ibrox disaster

Source: www.telegraph.co.uk

The government appointed Lord Wheatley to conduct an inquiry. His report led to great redevelopments in football grounds and his findings were published in 1973 as a Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (known as The Green Guide). The Green Guide is today on its 5th edition and being used by the UK Government as the official guide for safety at sports grounds.

Valley Parade disaster │ 1985

It is also known as the Bradford fire disaster. The Bradford City stadium was old with a wooden grandstand, built on the side of a hill so the entrances and exits were at the rear. There was a gap under the seats where many spectators threw their trash. Despite warnings from the authorities, the stadium management did nothing about it.

On 11th May 1985, Bradford City was facing Lincoln City. A few minutes before half time, some people noticed a small fire in the back corner of the tier. Someone had thrown a cigarette that fired some papers or trash. Because of the wooden floor and ceiling that was covered with asphalt, the fire spread quickly (Darby et al, 2005).

The game immediately stopped and the police tried to lead people off the stand and onto the pitch. The 2500 fans on that stand started panicking when the roof caught fire from the horizontal flames. Seconds later the whole stand was in flames. People tried to escape onto the pitch, but some of them never made it. The heat was extremely high and the temperature over 900 degrees causing instant ignition on people’s clothes and hair that were standing onto the pitch.

The police together with some spectators were desperately dragging burned people away. The human tragedy was just unavoidable as it took only four minutes for the fire to expand (Darby et al, 2005).

Fifty-six people died and over three hundred suffered horrific injuries. About half of those that died had tried to escape from the back of the stand, trying to reach the exits (Firth, 2007).

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Picture 3: The Valley Parade disaster

Source: www.theguardian.com

The fire in Bradford was the tragic illustration of what happens when security takes precedence over safety. There were no fire extinguishers in the area because of fear that the hooligans would use them and the exit doors were locked with padlocks to prevent the entry of people without tickets. Due to these security measures, there was no way to extinguish the initial fire and most importantly, there were no exits for the spectators to escape.

The tragedy resulted in the report of Oliver Popplewell which introduced significant changes to improve the safety in football grounds, including the banning of wooden stands.

Heysel disaster │ 1985

On 29th May 1985, Juventus was facing Liverpool in the UEFA European Cup Final, in Heysel stadium in Brussels. About an hour before kick-off, both teams’ fans started throwing fireworks and stones at each other. The situation got worse when a large mass of Liverpool fans moved threateningly towards Juventus fans.

The police failed to stop them and this lead to a large group of Liverpool fans violating the segregation fence and entering the Section "Z" that was intended for neutral fans. On the other hand, many Italians had bought tickets for that section violating the separation agreement. Liverpool fans moved towards the perimeter wall and Juventus fans tried to climb over the wall to escape and the wall finally collapsed.

Despite what happened, UEFA’s officials together with the Belgian authorities and the police, decided to move on with the game in order to avoid further violence and disorder. The match started with 85 minutes delay (Uefa.theoffside.com, 2015).

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Picture 4: The Heysel disaster

Source: www.theguardian.com

Thirty-nine people died that day and more than five hundred were injured.

The tragedy occurred mainly due to the inadequacy of the stadium to host such a high risk game, the bad infrastructure and insufficient maintenance of the football ground and the confusion and lack of cooperation between the two different police forces that were operating back then in Belgium. The tragedy resulted in the five-year exclusion of all English clubs from European leagues. Fourteen fans were accused of manslaughter and sentenced to three years of imprisonment.

Hillsborough disaster │ 1989

On 15th April 1989, Liverpool was facing Nottingham Forest on the repeat game of Cup semi-final.

Liverpool fans arrived at the ground many hours before the game, but they had to wait outside because the designated stand entrance had only a small number of turnstiles. The kick-off was delayed for half an hour as more than 2000 fans were still waiting to enter the venue. The police decided to open one of the exit gates to alleviate the crush outside the ground and suddenly, all the fans headed straight to the middle sections of the stands (BBC News, 2015).

This created overcrowding in the middle section of the stand and it is estimated that more than three thousand fans entered that stand, which is almost double its entry capacity. Despite the pressure that existed in the front seats the police hesitated to let the fans onto the pitch as they believed that they were trying to invade the pitch.

Prior to the match, there were concerns about violence phenomena and the possibility of a pitch invasion, so the police placed a metal fence, on which there were only few doors leading onto the pitch, in case of emergency.

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Picture 5: The Hillsborough disaster

Source: www.theguardian.com

The police and the firefighters started cutting the fence to help the fans. Some fans were climbing on the perimeter fence to escape and others were dragged by other fans in the upper tier.The response was slow with very bad coordination. At that moment the police reported the incident as “crowd trouble” and this caused a delay on the arrival of the ambulances.

Ninety-six people died and more than seven hundred were injured.

The next day, Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher and Home Secretary Douglas Hurd visited Hillsborough. Lord Taylor was then appointed to conduct an inquiry.

The terms of reference were to inquiry into the events and come up with recommendations about the need of crowd control and safety measures (Hillsborough Independent Panel, 2012).

In August 1989 he published an interim report, pointing out the actual events of that day supported by his conclusions and a final report containing forty-three separate recommendations regarding football safety. This report is known as the Taylor Report.

Lord Taylor found out that the main reason for the disaster was the bad policing and the poor communication. His major recommendations included the immediate removal of the perimeter fences, the transformation of all major venues into an all-seated model with immediate reduction of their capacity until the installation is complete, the implementation of a ticketing system and a better communication system between all the parties involved (Taylor, 1990).

2.4. Aftermath

The Burnden Park disaster in 1946 together with the Bradford fire and Heysel disasters, both in 1985, and the Hillsborough disaster in 1989 were the incidents that changed everything in football grounds safety (Elliot and Smith, 1993). These disasters led to serious grounds redevelopments and various safety guides publications.

According to Marsh et al (1996), after the Heysel disaster in 1985, Europe started making efforts to establish cross-border cooperation between the police and the football authorities against hooliganism. The Council of Europe adopted the European Convention on Spectator Violence and Misbehavior at Sports Events proposals, regarding prevention on violent behavior. The European Council asked all member countries to deal with sports violence and finally, the European Parliament proposed various measures to face hooliganism.

In 1996, the European Union adopted UK’s proposals and issued guidelines on dealing with football hooliganism. These guidelines include the exchange of police information and the training of stewards in crowd control and safety techniques. EU also proposed that all police forces participated in training courses to learn and exchange information and techniques to prevent hooliganism (Marsh et al, 1996).

The football governing bodies (FIFA and UEFA) and their partners issued various safety guides and manuals in an attempt to minimise the risk of any future tragedies and people involved in safety management started sharing different duties and responsibilities. The same started happening in most countries with Act amendments and football ground procedures that combine safety with security and service.

2.5. Duties and responsibilities

The need of an integrated command and control structure across match operations is mandatory to avoid another disaster. The safety management team involves two main components, the police and the venue safety officer together with the stewards. They all share the responsibility in organising the football event. These two groups need to follow specific procedures and use trained and efficient staff.

Police

While responsibility for the safety of the spectators lies on the safety officer, the presence of the police is required to maintain public order outside and inside the venue. It is crucial to have an integrated approach on safety management between the police, the safety officer and stewards (Frosdick, and Chalmers, 2005). The cooperation between these three parts involved in safety management is very vital.

Police authorities of all European countries exchange useful information regarding their fans and incidents. The database is used by other NFIP’s and they all gather information regarding football violence.

Venue Safety Officer

According to FIFA Safety and Security Regulations (FIFA, 2015), the safety officer must have experience in working with public authorities and the police and must have sufficient knowledge of event organisation, spectator supervision, event safety and security matters.

Every venue must assign a trained safety officer who will be in charge of the safety of the spectators and everyone else entering the venue. The safety officer commands an organisational structure and chain command for operations and stewarding. He is responsible to recruit suitable and trained stewards to supervise and provide safety and service to the spectators.

The venue safety officer is in charge of preparing, coordinating and developing the venue safety plans and in case of emergencies or evacuation he is in charge of the procedure (Football Licensing Authority, 2008).

Stewards

Stewards constitute the front line of the venue safety team. It could be any person assigned by the security officer to assist in safety management. Stewards must be well trained in safety matters and be able to carry out the duties required. There are different types of stewards, according to their duties during the event, i.e. safety stewards, security stewards, first aid stewards, fire stewards etc. (Football Licensing Authority, 2008).

Their primary role is safety and service. They assist with the circulation of spectators to prevent overcrowding and the reduction of disorder by taking early actions in an emergency. They also ensure the care, comfort and well-being of all spectators. They should always remember previous disasters and understand the need for vigilance and awareness at all times (Yiapanas, 2016).

According to the UK Green Guide (Football Licensing Authority, 2008), their duties may vary depending on the venue size and the nature of the event. The basic duties for stewards are to understand their responsibilities towards the health and safety of the spectators, carry out safety checks, control the spectators during their entrance and exit from the venue and help achieve an event flow in the viewing areas, recognise crowd conditions as to ensure the safe environment and prevent any unwanted incidents, keep the staircases, corridors and exits clean and clear from any obstacles, to provide basic emergency first aid, to respond in emergencies and undertake specific duties during an evacuation.

Steward’s appearance must create a good impression to the spectators. They should always be smart, clean, polite and helpful (Frosdick, and Chalmers, 2005). They should never watch the match, always behave properly and concentrate on their duties.

2.6. Safety & Security planning

Prior to every event, the safety officer, together with the police and the other partners involved in safety and security, meet together to prepare the safety and security plan. They take into consideration all the parameters and peculiarities of the event.

They study the history of the participating Clubs, they get information about the venue such as capacity, safety measures, stewarding, systems installed etc. and according to the possible attendance they prepare the best possible safety and security plan. The game is then categorised as a low or high risk game. If any other information turns out before the match and after the security meeting, it must be taken into consideration by the safety officer.

On match day, the security officer informs all the stewards and the security staff about the games details through a brief meeting. At the end of the match, a debrief meeting is set in order to collect all the information and details from the various incidents during the event. The security officer gathers all the information and prepares a detailed report which he sends to the police and the Club.

2.7. Football grounds operations

Football ground operations take into consideration the trinity service, security and safety and they provide support to the spectator’s needs. These needs may be cultural, medical, physical, etc. and most of the times, the spectators will ask information about the venue facilities, instructions and directions or they may request help regarding first aid, lost property, even for a lost child (Football Licensing Authority, 2008).

The safety officer must ensure that both teams will arrive and depart from the stadium in complete safety and their dressing rooms have direct access to the pitch. Players should not come at any case in contact with the spectators (UEFA, 2011).

Specific service and safety conditions must exist for disabled people and the venue must have an accessible and inclusive environment for wheelchairs or people with limited mobility (CAFE, 2011).

The venue safety officer together with the stewards, have to take immediate actions in case of racist expressions or banned symbols. UEFA has introduced a ten point plan that they want all European clubs to adopt in an attempt to eradicate racism in football (FARE, 2003).

While operating a football ground different risks may rise. These risks are separated into three categories, service, safety and security. Service risks have to do with problems regarding the spectators’ seats and their accommodation, inadequate facilities, long queues, poor quality of products etc. Security risks include alcohol problems, segregation breach, pitch invasion, high risk fans, racism behaviour, criminal activities etc. Safety risks include structural failure, blocked exits, tripping hazards, bad weather, systems failure, loss of services, crowd incidents etc.

There are a lot of different types of risks and the stewards must always be alerted and proactive. “To attain this goal, the safety officer has to develop the four C’s: competence, control, co-operation and communication” (Frosdick and Whalley, 1999). Stewards must be able to assess the risk and decide if any further actions are required.

Crowd control management encapsulates a set of procedures in order to prevent disorder or a possible riot. The first crowd control incident was reported in 1923, at Wembley during the Cup final. More than 300000 spectators tried to enter the venue, the capacity of which was 127000. That match is known as “the white horse final” because a policeman on a white horse managed to control the crowd and clear the pitch (Miller et al, 2010).

The primary objective of crowd control is to ensure the safe entry, the safe accommodation and the safe exit of the spectators. To accomplish this, the venue needs to have a variety of systems installed and procedures to be followed.

In a normal environment and circumstances, people conform to the behaviour of those around them. This means that within the crowd they may behave differently than if they were alone or in a smaller group. When feeling part of a larger group, people may be aggressive. The loss of individuality entices even the calmest person to lose control and begin to adopt the behaviour in the environment. Crowds usually become difficult to control at the end of the game. The main problem is segregating them and keeping home and visiting fans apart. This concerns a structured safety crowd management plan (Coalter, 1985).

The safety officer needs to prepare a detailed segregation plan, based on the three different types of segregation procedures. The first type of segregation concerns the planning of different routes for home and away fans. The second type concerns the segregation of home and away fans on the stands and the third type is the protection of players from the spectators (Football Licensing Authority, 2008).

Despite the fact that normal operations and planning are made to protect the spectators, things can always go wrong. Routine incidents are dealt with under normal circumstances and procedures, but the venue also needs to have emergency plans (Football Licensing Authority, 2008). The plans outline the immediate response to any incident that might affect the safety of the spectators or disrupt any normal operations.

It is crucial for the staff to know every detail regarding the venue and how it operates. In emergency cases, they need to be trained so that they can deliver fast, efficiently and effectively and help the spectators to exit fast and safely.

2.8. Football grounds infrastructure

Football grounds must have a valid safety certificate issued by the relevant Licensing Authority. The certificate ensures that the venue is safe to operate and accommodate a football event and all safety regulations are taken into consideration. In order for the venue to be approved, the stadium management has to ensure that all necessary facilities are in place and in excellent condition (Yiapanas, 2016).

The fire-fighting facilities and the fire precautions must be approved by the local authorities and the first aid rooms properly equipped in consultation with the local health authorities (FIFA, 2007).

All directional signs should be presented in internationally understandable language as many visitors may not be familiar with the local language. In case of emergency, the signs will have a vital role for a safe evacuation (Yiapanas, 2016).

The venue must have an efficient ticketing and electronic access system, with real time data recording and the entry capacity should be at least 650 spectators per hour per gate or turnstile (Football Licensing Authority, 2008). According to the Green Guide, each venue should calculate the capacities in order to find the final capacity of each stand and the venue.

The common factors that have to be calculated in order to determine the final capacity are:

- The entry capacity - The number of spectators who can enter within a period of one hour
- The holding capacity - The number of spectators that can be safely accommodated in each section
- The exit capacity - The number of spectators that can safely exit the venue under normal conditions
- The emergency evacuation capacity - The number of spectators that can safely exit the venue under evacuation conditions

Having established all the above figures, the final capacity will be determined by whichever is the lowest figure (Football Licensing Authority, 2008).

CCTV is a useful tool in safety management. The safety officer gets useful information regarding crowd movements and monitors the venue. The system is controlled from the control room (UEFA, 2006). The control room must have an overall view of the inside and outside of the venue and must be equipped with a public address system and surveillance screens.

2.9. Beliefs and arguments

Many countries use the banning order measure to minimise hooliganism and inappropriate behaviour and disorder. UK Government, for example, introduced football banning order (FBO) in their Act, which allowed the UK courts to control the freedom of movement of football related convicted fans. This measure brought a decrease in the number of disorder incidents (Stott and Pearson, 2006).

Although Europe adopted many strategies regarding hooliganism formulated by the UK government, the European Parliament is still concerned about the restrictions on the free movement of football supporters (Frosdick and Marsh 2005) pointing out that it serves no useful purpose and it is against the Human Rights Act.

[...]

Excerpt out of 81 pages

Details

Title
Can the New Football Violence Act Provide the Means for Efficient Safety Management in Football Grounds in Cyprus
College
University of Wolverhampton
Course
MA Management
Grade
72
Author
Year
2016
Pages
81
Catalog Number
V443941
ISBN (eBook)
9783668816336
Language
English
Tags
Football, violence, Sports, Cyprus
Quote paper
George Yiapanas (Author), 2016, Can the New Football Violence Act Provide the Means for Efficient Safety Management in Football Grounds in Cyprus, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/443941

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