SGSA: Planning For Social Distancing Guidance

The Sports Grounds Safety Authority (SGSA) has published guidance to help sports grounds plan for the re-admittance of spectators – SG02: Planning for Social Distancing at Sports Grounds


This guidance will help venues to determine a new safe capacity and equip them with the knowledge and guidance they need to plan for the return of fans with confidence. While the guidance does not allow for the immediate admittance of fans, the Prime Minister has indicated this will be from the start of October.



Martyn Henderson, Chief Executive of the SGSA, said: “The COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact on sport. We know the immense pressures that sports grounds and clubs, their owners, staff, players and supporters have faced.



“Bringing fans back into grounds while maintaining social distancing will bring new challenges. Just as we have all had to learn new behaviours in order to reduce the spread of the virus, sports grounds too will need to significantly adapt. This guidance provides sports grounds with the knowledge and guidance they need to plan for the safe return of fans with confidence.


“Our purpose is, and always will be, ensuring fans can watch live sport safely. The return to full stadia will not happen overnight. However, our new guidance provides sports grounds with the tools to enable some spectators to return safely.”


Government guidance states that the 2m social distancing remains. This reduces to 1m if mitigation measures are used. The SGSA guidance offers two methods of measuring 1m distance – both of which can only be used if other mitigation measures are in place.  At many grounds it’s likely that the seating capacity will be set on an event-to-event basis.


A ground’s circulation system – arrive, leave and move from the concourse to their seats – is critical to social distancing planning. The guidance offers different approaches that can be used to manage this, such as one-way systems and removing seats to widen stairways.


Engaging with fans properly is key, both before and during an event. Central to this is the need for fans to carry out a personal risk assessment before deciding whether to attend or not. The SGSA recommends creating a Spectators’ Code of Conduct. This includes a basic commitment to be respectful of social distancing of other fans and the staff working at the ground.


Any social distancing measures must not compromise the rights or quality of experience for disabled fans.


Ground management should work with others, including the police, local authority and public transport providers, on social distancing in Zone Ex (the area immediately outside the ground where spectators will arrive and depart from.


Read the full guidance and watch explainer videos via the SGSA website:


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