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Sports ground safety certificates

The safety of spectators who visit sports grounds for sporting or other events is governed by the requirements of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987.

Safety certificates cover the physical condition of sports grounds and the safety management provision. A safe capacity is determined for each facility.

Online application

Licence summary

If you operate a sports ground in England, Scotland or Wales that holds more than 10,000 spectators, you may be required to hold a safety certificate.

A safety certificate may be either:-

  • a general safety certificate issued for the use of a sports ground for a specified activity, or activities, during an indefinite period,
  • a special safety certificate for the use of a sports ground for a specified activity or activities on a specified occasion or occasions.

Safety certificates are obtained from your local authority.

You must comply with any terms or conditions attached to a certificate.

Eligibility criteria

To be eligible for a safety certificate, you must be likely to be in a position to prevent contravention of the terms and conditions of a certificate.

Regulation summary

A summary of the regulation relating to this licence [External].

Application evaluation process

Applicants must provide requested information and plans to the local authority within the time specified. If the applicant fails to provide the requested information within the specified time the application will be deemed to have been withdrawn.

A local authority will consider if the applicant is in a position to prevent any breach of the terms and conditions of a certificate.

The local authority must send a copy of an application for a safety certificate to the chief police officer of the area, the fire and rescue authority if they are not that authority and the building authority if they are not that authority in England and Wales. In Scotland they shall send an application to the chief police officer and either the fire authority or building authority. Each of these bodies must be consulted about the terms and conditions to be included in a certificate.

If an application is made to transfer a certificate the local authority must determine if the person to whom the certificate is to be transferred, if they made an application, would qualify for the issue of a certificate. The applicant may be the current holder of the certificate or the person to whom the certificate is to be transferred.

The local authority must send a copy of a transfer application to the chief police officer of the area, the fire and rescue authority if they are not that authority and the building authority if they are not that authority in England and Wales. In Scotland they shall send an application to the chief police officer and either the fire authority or building authority. They shall consult them about any proposed amendment, replacement or transfer.

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 the local authority within a reasonable period, please contact it. You can do this online if you applied through the UK Welcomes service [External] or use the contact details below.

Apply online

Apply for a sports ground safety certificate [External].

Tell us about a change to your existing sports ground safety certificate [External].

Failed application redress

Please contact your local authority in the first instance.

Any applicant who is refused a safety certificate because they are not considered to be an eligible person can appeal to the magistrates court.

An applicant who is refused a special safety certificate may also appeal to the magistrates court against a refusal of his application based on grounds other than a decision that they are not an eligible person.

Licence holder redress

Please contact your local authority in the first instance.

Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to, or the omission of anything from, their safety certificate, or against the refusal to amend or replace a safety certificate, may appeal to the magistrates court. They may also appeal to the county court against an order of the magistrate's court.

Consumer complaint

We would always advise that in the event of a complaint the first contact is made with the trader by you - preferably in the form a letter (with proof of delivery). If that has not worked, if you are located in the United Kingdom (UK), Consumer Direct [External] will give you advice. From outside the UK contact the UK European Consumer Centre [External].

Other redress

Any person concerned in ensuring compliance with the terms and conditions of the safety certificate may appeal to the magistrate's court against any condition attached to, or the omission of anything from, a safety certificate, or against the refusal to amend or replace a safety certificate.

Trade associations

Federation of Sports and Play Associations (FSPA) [External].

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