Insights Safety at major sporting events: UK Government responds to House of Commons Committee report


In December 2023, the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Committee published a report, including recommendations for Government, on safety at major sporting events. The intention is to address the increase in football-related arrests post-pandemic and incidents such as when fans attempted to break through gates at the Euro 2020 finals at Wembley, Liverpool fans being blamed for policing failings at the 2022 UEFA Champions League final in Paris, and steward assaults at domestic games. A summary of the Committee’s recommendations and the Government’s response, published on 8 March 2024, is set out below.

The recommendations touch on a wide number of issues including protecting fans abroad by greater collaboration with local police forces, how to cover the full costs of policing sporting events, progress of the Unauthorised Entry to Football Matches Bill currently moving through the legislative process (previously reported by Wiggin), a system to report and record discrimination and antisocial behaviour at sporting events, reviewing the rules around the supply of alcohol and understanding the prevalence of drug supply and possession at sporting events, steward training and standards, stadium management (including requiring local authorities to include a wider variety of perspectives in  Safety Advisory Groups), and safe standing areas which, as of 2022, are now permitted at all football clubs under licence.

In the case of alcohol, the Government states that there is a need to balance potential commercial benefits of alcohol sales in the lower leagues with concerns around safety and disorder, the mitigation of which would incur additional costs, but commits to keep alcohol controls under review. In respect of the Committee’s other recommendations, the Government does not appear to see the need for further action but, rather, has responded by outlining in some detail the measures already taken to address the issues raised such as under existing legislation, policy or current practice.

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