Sports stand & ground safety

This page provides information regarding safety certificates for sports stands and grounds.

If you operate a covered stand that holds 500 or more spectators or any ground that holds more than 10,000 spectators, you will need a safety certificate.

A safety certificate may be either:
  • a general safety certificate covering the use of the stand or ground for viewing an activity specified in the certificate for an indefinite period
  • a special safety certificate covering the use of the stand or ground for viewing a certain specified activity on certain specified occasions
One certificate may cover more than one sports stand but not more than one ground.

Certificates are obtained from your local authority.

You must comply with any conditions attached to a certificate.
For sports stands to be eligible for a general safety certificate, you must be responsible for the ground’s management.

To be eligible for a special safety certificate, you must be the person responsible for the activity to be viewed on a special occasion.

For sports grounds, you must be likely to be in a position to prevent breaking the terms and conditions of a certificate.
Applicants must provide information and plans to the local authority within the time specified, otherwise the application will be deemed to have been withdrawn.

The local authority will determine if any stand or ground in their area is regulated. If so, a notice will be served to the person issued with a general safety certificate. The notice gives details of the determination and its effects.
In the case of sports stands, when a local authority receives an application for a general safety certificate, we must determine if the stand is regulated and if the applicant qualifies for a certificate.

For both stands and grounds, the local authority must send a copy of an application for a safety certificate to the chief police officer of the area and, if they are not the authority, to the fire and rescue service and the building authority. Each of these must be consulted about the terms and conditions included in the certificate.

If an application is made to transfer a certificate, the local authority must determine if the person receiving the transferred certificate made an application and if they would qualify for a certificate. The applicant may be the current holder of the certificate or the person receiving the transferred certificate. 
Please check when you apply as it is based on your particular set of circumstances. 

If the answer is yes:
This means that you can act as though your application is granted, if you haven’t heard from the local authority by the end of the target completion period.

If the answer is no:
It is in the public interest that the authority processes your application before it can be granted. If you have not heard from the authority within a reasonable period, please contact us.
Any applicant refused a general safety certificate because they are not considered to be an eligible person can appeal to the magistrates’ court.

An applicant refused a special safety certificate may also appeal to the court, as long as the appeal doesn’t hinge on them not being an ‘eligible person'.
You can appeal to the magistrates’ court to appeal against:
  • conditions attached to the certificate
  • conditions omitted from the certificate
  • refusal to amend or replace a certificate
We would advise that, in the event of a complaint, you contact the trader in the form a letter, with proof of delivery.

If that hasn’t worked and if you are located in the UK, Citizens Advice can assist you.
Anyone served with a notice determining that a sports stand or ground is regulated may appeal to the local magistrates' court.