The Sports Safety Conference

DfC Sports Branch has policy responsibility for The Safety of Sports Grounds (NI) Order 2006, which introduced a safety certification scheme for larger sports grounds and grounds with permanent spectator stands.


This scheme is administered and enforced by the local district councils. 

In 2017, Sport NI appointed the Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) to carry out the overseeing role on behalf of the Department. 

As part of its responsibility to the sector, DfC arranges an annual Sports Safety Conference, which offers an opportunity for all those involved in delivering sports events across NI to share knowledge and experiences across the sector and provides an insight into national and international developments.

Sports Safety Conference - The story to date

The first Sports Safety Conference hosted by the Department was held on 24 March 2017 in Ulster Rugby’s Kingspan Stadium and was attended by  stakeholders across a range of backgrounds including sports grounds owners and operators, sports governing bodies, sports clubs and those from the emergency services who are involved with managing safety at sports events.  This event included local and national speakers and covered topics including ‘The Stewarding Experience’; ‘Managing Safety at Dundrod International Road Race’ and ‘Policing at the UEFA 2016 European Championships’.

The 2018 Sports Safety Conference was held on 23 March in the National Football Stadium, Windsor Park.  Once again local and national speakers delivered presentations on a range of safety topics including ‘Managing Safety and Security at The Open 2017 at Birkdale’; ‘The Sports Grounds Safety Authority review of its safety guidance i.e. the Green Guide’, ‘Cyber Security’ and ‘Crowd Flow Analysis’. 

This year’s Sports Safety Conference was held at Tyrone GAA Centre of Excellence in Garvaghey.  Once again the conference proved to be extremely popular with representatives from central and local Government, Emergency Services, sports Governing bodies and clubs, sports ground owners and operators in attendance.

Industry experts shared their knowledge and experience on a very broad range of subjects including Ken Scott, Chief Inspector of the Sports Grounds Safety Authority, Tom McGuinness, Events & Safety Manager for Croke Park, Jonas Bogaert from The European Stadium and Safety Management Association and Benjamin Steen from Bayern Munich FC.

All the speakers helped to make the 3rd Sports Safety Conference a success and attendees were already looking forward to the 2020 Conference.

Details of the 2020 Sports Safety Conference will be published in due course.

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