our history

The inaugural meeting of the FSOA took place in Nottingham on 29 October 1992 and was attended by 28 Safety Officers. The association was the brainchild of Mike Holford QPM, then Safety Officer at Nottingham Forest F.C. Mike later became the first Honorary President of the Association but is sadly no longer with us. The aims of the Association then and now can be summarised as:

Improving safety at football grounds by enhancing the role of safety management and the status of the Safety Officer within the football industry. The Association intends to achieve this by promulgating best safety management practices, enhancing the role of stewards and continually developing the expertise of Safety Officers’.

From the original 28 members, the FSOA membership now stands at over 300. Membership is voluntary but almost all English and Welsh Premier, Championship and Football League Clubs are represented together with the national stadia of both countries. Membership also extends to Clubs in the lower football leagues. For more information on the various categories of membership and how to become a member please click here.

The success of the FSOA is well evidenced by other sporting bodies creating their own Safety Officers Associations in Scotland and Northern Ireland and in sports such as Rugby League, Rugby Union, English cricket and horse racing. All of these separate Associations have as their aims the same safety principles established by the FSOA.

Corporate Partnership status is available on application to companies or organisations involved in safety at sports venues. This may include suppliers of goods and services to the employers of Full members.

The Members Board shall scrutinise all such offers and applications, and the applicant must demonstrate their objectives and reasons for seeking corporate partnership. The Board will make all decisions on Corporate partnership.

About the FSOA

As membership of the FSOA has grown so to has its influence in the wider sports industry. Over the years the FSOA has led the way in the development of the professional competencies of both its members and the wider spectator safety management sector. From 2002 the FSOA delivered its own six day Event and Match day Safety Management Course. More recently, the FSOA has worked in partnership with other training bodies to encourage and promote the development of professional safety qualifications for our members. This commitment by the FSOA became even more relevant when the 5th edition of the Green Guide recommended:

That a Safety Officer should as a minimum have, or be working towards, a Level 4 spectator safety qualification on the relevant qualification framework

Whilst the majority of our members now hold this qualification the diversity of skills within the Association is evidenced by other relevant qualifications attained, including degrees, diplomas and vocational qualifications in risk and security, fire safety, management and business studies as well as health and safety and environmental studies. It is now recognised that professional safety management can only be performed by professional safety practitioners with the relevant qualifications to support their levels of competencies. It is no longer acceptable for a Club to recruit as their Safety Officer a retired member of the emergency services thinking that they have the necessary training, qualifications and experience to discharge the demanding roles and responsibilities of a Safety Officer from the first day of their appointment.

Our members are represented on various working groups related to all aspects of improving stadium facilities and safety management. Members have made important contributions to the development of various guidance documents, for example the (then) Football Licensing Authority 2009 publication on Safety Management and the Football Association’s 2010 guidance on Crowd Management. FSOA members are regular speakers at safety and security training courses and seminars both in the UK and abroad. Members were closely involved in stewards training for the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the 2012 European Championships in Poland and Ukraine.

The development and coordination of the Association’s activities is directed through the Chair of the FSOA supported by six regional chairs of the Association who comprise the Management Board (MB).

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