The Sport Matters Strategy commits Government to ensuring that spectator provision at major sports stadiums in Northern Ireland meets legislative requirements in terms of safety, accessibility and comfort.
The Department with the support of a range of stakeholders, is taking forward a Safety of Sports Grounds initiative which is designed to encourage and assist venue owners in enhancing safety and spectator management arrangements at larger sports grounds.
The primary legislation governing spectator safety at major stadiums in Northern Ireland is the Safety of Sports Grounds (Northern Ireland) Order 2006. This legislation is complemented by related Public Order Laws in Part 4 of The Justice Act (Northern Ireland) 2011.
Advice and guidance
The Department has published a guide to safety at sports grounds, entitled "The Northern Ireland Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds - second edition" (commonly known as "the Red Guide"). It is available free as a PDF file.
The Department has also produced General information about "The Safety of Sports Grounds (NI) Order 2006" legislation for larger sports grounds and non-temporary spectator stands. Information includes effective dates, fees and appeals against council decisions.
On-going advice and guidance on sports grounds safety matters is available from Sport Northern Ireland (SNI) which is responsible for discharging overseeing functions in respect to safety at sports grounds. General advice on overseeing functions and safety related issues can be found on:
Requests for advice and guidance can be directed to Sport Northern Ireland by e-mail at: firstname.lastname@example.org or by Telephone: (028) 9038 3842.
Sport Northern Ireland is also responsible for the distribution of any available funding for safety at sports grounds.
Sports Grounds Order: Information Circular
In accordance with its guidance making powers under Article 13(7) and Article 22(2) of the Safety of Sports Grounds (Northern Ireland) Order 2006, The Department routinely issues Information Circulars to District Councils in respect to sports grounds safety matters.
The information circulars can be found on the following page:
The Safety of Sports Grounds (2006 Order) (Commencement) Order 2009.
The Safety of Sports Grounds (Designation) (No.2) Order (NI) 2009.
The Safety of Sports Grounds (Fees and Appeals) Regulations (NI) 2009.
The Safety of Sports Grounds (Fees and Appeals) (Amendment) Regulations (NI) 2012.