Can spectator safety at sports grounds be defined as a product of design, management practice; or a combination?
Knowles, Michael Lee
Cardiff Metropolitan University
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The purpose of this research was to identify the extent to which spectator safety at sports stadia is achieved through design and management practice in the UK. As sports play a major part in the everyday lives of the population, millions make the trip to one of their local sports grounds every week to watch their favourite team compete. In attending these sports events, therefore, spectators demand a certain level of personal safety whilst within the stadium. The legislation regarding this level of safety has changed over recent years in light of disasters such as Hillsborough, where failures by management left 96 dead at a football match. In order to identify the design and management effects on overall safety, the researcher compared two stadia - Ninian Park in Cardiff, previous home to Cardiff City Football Club and Cardiff City Stadium, their current home. Ninian Park had been in existence since 1910 and, consequently, was subject to numerous faults inherent in its design; whereas the new facility had been built specifically to the legislative demands of today. With the same management team at the new stadium there was sufficient scope for a research project to identify the extent to which management practice affects overall spectator safety during their time at the match. The researcher took interviews with key members of stadium management in addition to experts from the emergency services in order to provide a balanced view free from bias, with the results showing that management practice is less significant when accommodating spectators safely than stadium design. There are a multitude of variable elements to design by which spectator safety is measured, with management practice only completing the picture.
BA (Hons) Events Management
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