Bowled Over by Conference at Lord's

Panelists debate the issues at the 3rd SGSA Spectator Safety event on Thursday 2 March,

Over 250 safety professionals gathered together at Lord’s cricket ground for the 3rd SGSA Spectator Safety event on Thursday 2 March, to discuss the most pertinent issues facing the sports grounds safety community.

Leadership in safety was the thread throughout the day and an exceptional line-up of speakers from across the sector covered topics from counter-terrorism and cyber-security to smart stadia, social media and human behaviour. Chaired by BBC sport presenter Rob Bonnet, the event provided a wealth of discussions and debate for tackling today’s safety challenges.

The event kicked off with a panel of leaders from Rugby League, Rugby Union, and Lord’s cricket ground, who set out their views on leadership and how safety professionals can influence their leaders to create a culture of safety in their own organisation.

Evacuation specialist, Dr Aoife Hunt provided a lively and thought provoking session on how people respond to emergency situations; not by panicking but normalising the situation.

A series of workshops provided delegates with the opportunity to select the topics most relevant to them and discuss the subject in more detail. Manchester United’s Group Managing Director, Richard Arnold, shared the lessons from the evacuation of Old Trafford in May last year to a packed room. Whilst the SGSA provided an update on the upcoming changes to the Green Guide.

The final panel discussion on the issue of persistent standing provided some interesting views on the tackling this challenging safety issue. Head of Safety, Security and Operations, Celtic Park, Ronnie Hawthorne talked through their experience and solution, Sharon Cicco, Chair of the Football Safety Officers Association provide an insight into the challenges for safety officers and Sheila Roberts, Newham Council gave a local authority perspective.

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 “This was the third SGSA conference and the biggest so far, with more people from the sector coming together to share experiences and hear from specialist experts. It is great to see so many people passionate about tackling safety challenges and committed to keeping people safe at sports grounds.”