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Safety of sports grounds - licences

Do you need a certificate and when do you need to make an application, how much will it cost and how to apply for a ground safety certificate. What are the conditions and how to renew or change the certificate.

Do I need a certificate?

The safety of spectators who visit sports grounds for sporting or other events is governed by the requirements of the Safety of Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the Fire Safety and Safety of Places of Sports Act 1987. Safety certificates cover the physical condition of sports grounds and the safety management provision with a safe capacity being determined for each facility. 

Types of safety certificate

Designated grounds - safety certificate. This is required for any stadium (regardless of its capacity) where league football (Barclays Premiership or Coca-Cola Championship, League One or League Two) matches are to be played. Designated ground safety certificates deal with safety aspects relating to the entire ground. There are no designated grounds in the East Riding of Yorkshire. Regulated stand - safety certificate. This is required for football and other sports grounds that do not meet the criteria of a 'designated ground', but have covered accommodation for more than 500 people. These only relate to the safety of the stand and to the means of access and egress from it. One certificate may cover more than one stand.

A failure to operate without obtaining a certificate, where required, will lead to prosecution.

For more information

There are a number of useful websites, which will provide you with further information:

Business Link (external website)

The Federation of Sports and Play Associations (external website)

The following document provides a guide to safety certification for sports grounds:

Department for Culture Media and Sport - Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (external pdf 1.35mb opens in new window)

When do I have to make an application?

Applications must be made when:

  • a stand falls into the category of a regulated stand and there is no certificate in place or
  • an amendment is required to an existing certificate or
  • the certificate is to be transferred to another person

How much will it cost?

The fees are detailed below:

  • a sports ground general safety certificate £1129
  • a sports ground special safety certificate £338.50 plus the cost of the public notice if relevant

How do I apply for a sports ground safety certificate?

You can apply for a safety certificate by one of the following means:

Sports Ground Safety Cert Application form (pdf 99kb opens in new window)

  • contacting us in writing, telephone or email for a copy of the form, please use the contact details below to request an application form

As a minimum the following information must be provided along with the application:

  • scale plan of the sports ground
  • scale plan of the relevant stands

How long will it take you to process my application?

There is no statutorily defined time scale for consideration of applications. The process of granting a safety certificate is complex and will take a significant period of time depending on the size and complexity of the sports ground in question.

Before any certificate is issued a consultation process is undertaken with the views of the interested parties being considered as part of the application process.

Additionally the Council may require you to provide further information and plans of the ground, which may incur additional time.

If you do not supply the correct information or documents, your application will be rejected.

In addition the premises will be inspected and assessed as part of the application process.

We will communicate closely with you and you will be invited to attend all safety advisory group meetings in relation to your application.

There is no tacit consent so you can not assume it has been granted if you have not heard from us within 28 days. This is because it is in the public interest that we must process your application before it can be granted.

If you have not heard from us within a reasonable period, please contact us at the address below.

Are there any conditions attached to the certificate?

Terms and conditions will be attached to any issued certificate, these will be specific to the stadium/stand.

A full list of terms and conditions will be provided with the certificate on its issue

Any licence holder who wishes to appeal against a condition attached to, or the omission of anything from, their safety certificate, or against the refusal to amend or replace a safety certificate, may appeal to the magistrates court.

They may also appeal to the county court against an order of the Magistrates Court.

If my application is refused how do I appeal?

If your application is refused, contact us and we will discuss your application with you.

If you are refused a safety certificate you can appeal to the magistrates court.

How long does the certificate last and what is the renewal process?

There is no requirement to renew. The certificate is indefinite unless circumstances change.

Who do I tell about a change of circumstances which could affect my certificate?

If circumstances change regarding;

  • details of the certificate holder
  • capacity of the ground
  • physical changes to the ground
  • changes to the safety management arrangements required under the certificate

Then you must contact us as soon as possible, it is advisable to discuss any proposed changes prior to their implementation.

Who do I contact?

If you'd like to find out more you can contact us online.

Alternatively, you can email us:

Email: health.safety@eastriding.gov.uk

Or write to us:

Health and Safety and Animal Health Manager,
Housing and Public Protection,
East Riding of Yorkshire Council,
County Hall,
Beverley,
East Riding of Yorkshire,
HU17 9BA

Making a complaint

If you feel we have failed to provide you with a good service or are concerned about the progress of your application, please contact us and we will endeavour to resolve any concerns you may have. We also have a formal complaints procedure.