The primary purpose of a safety certificate is to set the safe capacity of a designated ground or of a regulated stand at a non–designated ground. In addition to setting the safe capacity the safety certificate will set out the detailed terms and conditions with which the certificate holder must comply if that capacity is to be maintained.
Safety certificates are issued by the local authority. Depending on the area in which the sports ground is located the local authority will be either the county council, unitary authority, metropolitan or London borough.
The Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (Green Guide) provides detailed guidance on calculating how many spectators can be safely accommodated within the viewing accommodation of a sports ground. The Guide also provides advice on measures to improve safety at sports grounds.
Although the Guide has no statutory force many of its recommendation will be given the force of law at individual grounds by their inclusion in the safety certificate for that ground.
To assist the local authorities discharge their functions under the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 (1975 Act), at grounds at which designated football matches are played, the SGSA has produced Safety Certification, which provides a single source of reference on the safety certification process, monitoring and enforcement.