A Few Words From Alan Bexon
Alan Bexon is the Chief Safety Officer at Nottingham Forest FC and he's kindly agreed to answer the questions asked by you, the supporters of the club.
Before he gets down to the business of answering your questions, he would like you to know a few things about the governing bodies and some of the rules and regulations, that he and the club are governed by. Reading this, will hopefully give some insight into the answers he gives.
FOOTBALL LICENSING AUTHORITY (FLA):
Is an independent public body set up under the Football Spectators` Act 1989 and funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport. Their purpose is to ensure that all spectators regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin, disability, or the team that they support are able to attend sports grounds in safety, comfort and security.
The FLA was originally conceived as the body that would implement the Football Membership Scheme in response to the disaster at the Heysel Stadium in 1985. However, the Government shelved this in the light of Lord Justice Taylor's Final Report on the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster of April 1989.
Instead it was charged with implementing some of the Report's key recommendations by:
a)Monitoring local authorities' oversight of spectator safety at International, Premiership and Football League grounds and;
b)Ensuring through a system of licensing that these grounds became all seated.
In 1992 the Government decided to allow clubs in the Football League Second and Third Divisions to retain some standing accommodation, provided that this satisfied certain criteria. They enforce this through the licences.
Nottingham Forest Football Club each year is required to apply to the FLA for a licence, which allows the club to admit spectators into their premises for the purpose of watching a designated football match. Each licence is subject to conditions and FLA inspectors attend games throughout the season to monitor safety and to ensure that the club is complying with the conditions of the licence. www.flaweb.org.uk
LOCAL LICENSING AUTHORITY (LLA):
The local licensing authority, which in the case of Nottingham Forest is Nottinghamshire County Council, is responsible for issuing the football club with its Safety Certificate, which permits the club to hold matches here at The City Ground.
The local authority inspectors will attend games throughout the season to ensure that the football club is complying with the conditions of the Safety Certificate. They have the authority to revoke or impose restrictions to the licence.
A safety certificate is required for all designated football grounds and is issued under the 'Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975` and 'Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sport Act 1987` the certificate is extensive and covers all aspects of safety including staffing and crowd control, medical facilities, buildings and structural testing and certification, Fire Safety, documentation of briefings, tests, emergency plans and inspections, documentation, training plus many others.
SAFETY ADVISORY GROUP:
As well as football club personnel, representatives from the Nottinghamshire County Council, Rushcliffe Borough Council, the Police, Fire and Rescue Service, East Midlands Ambulance Service and the FLA attend meetings of this group, which oversees and advises the Club on all matters that are covered by the safety certificate. The group can then advise the certifying authority on any action that it considers should, or could, be taken in the event of any breaches of the conditions of the certificate, including legal action against the person named on the safety certificate.
GUIDE TO SAFETY AT SPORTS GROUNDS:
Otherwise known as the 'Green Guide`, this publication is the 'bible` for Safety Officers and Safety Advisory Groups and provides all the information on what is required to ensure the safety of spectators attending sports stadiums and compliance with legislation.
In the second of our articles with Alan Bexon, he will be answering your questions on everything from stewarding, to the removal of bottle tops.