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FSOA call for 'transparency and consistency' after Hillsborough debate

Following Monday's Hillsborough disaster debate in Parliament, the Football Safety Officers Association (FSOA) has called for 'openness, consensus, transparency and consistency' in safety at sports grounds and crowd management.

John Newsham, chairman of the FSOA, said: “The FSOA welcomes the debate on disclosure of the Hillsborough disaster in Parliament.

"Our organisation was formed as a direct result of the tragedy and our members have played a leading role in shaping sports ground safety since the terrible event in 1989.

"Openness and consensus are key factors in crowd management and sports ground safety. Therefore, anything that can assist the transparency and consistency of our safety operations up and down the country is to be welcomed."

He added: "Additionally, we appreciate that even after such a long period of time some families of the Hillsborough victims still require closure. If the release of documents would assist in achieving an end to, or reduction in, their suffering we believe they deserve to have their wishes realised.”

Continual developments

Newsham says FSOA members want to see continual developments in crowd management and safety procedures at sports grounds.

"With more than 300 members, the FSOA strives to improve safety by sharing best practice and by enhancing the role of safety officers within the football industry and continually developing their expertise."

Formed in 1992 in the wake of the Hillsborough Disaster, the FSOA works with all professional football clubs in England and Wales.

The FSOA was the brainchild of Mike Holford QPM, then Safety Officer at Nottingham Forest FC. He later became the first honorary president of the association, but has since passed away.

Improve safety at football grounds

The inaugural meeting of the FSOA took place in Nottingham on October 29, 1992 and was attended by 28 safety officers.

The aims of the association are the same now as they were in October 1992 - to improve safety at football grounds, by enhancing the role of safety management and the status of the safety officer within the football industry.  

The association strives for best safety management practices, to enhance the role of stewards, and to develop the expertise of safety officers.

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 and cricket.  

All of these separate associations have as their aims the same safety principles established by the FSOA.

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