Close-up: Leif Bjørn, Security Manager at Telia Parken

ESSMA interviewed Leif Bjørn, Security Manager at Telia Parken. Together with his colleagues, Leif has the overall responsibility regarding safety and access control at the venue. Telia Parken is one of the host venues of our Safety & Security Workshop on 13 and 14 November.

How many staff work in your department? And what is the ratio of volunteers and full-time staff?

The security department at Telia Parken consists of me and one other colleague on a full-time and daily basis. Furthermore, there are 2 SLO’s which are responsible for linking with our fans. In total, we have 300 steward volunteers. If necessary we can acquire extra stewards to support us on matchdays.  

How many stewards are present on matchdays?

Depending on the number of fans we expect, they are working between 150 and 550 stewards on matchdays. 

How is the communication and cooperation between the different services (stewards, police and video operators) coordinated?

All communication goes through the control room. There are representatives from all parties including the police and fire department present. If there are questions or issues to address it is easy to communicate with them. From our side, it is important that when somebody outside the stadium contacts the police, we know about it as well so we can assist them.

How do you retain your stewards and keep them motivated?

We have a lot of educational sessions and social activities, so stewards feel that they are appreciated and valued at the club. Furthermore, during Europa/Champions League campaigns, we try to visit one of the clubs we play against. 

Which are the main challenges regarding Safety & Security at Telia Parken?

On matchdays, pyrotechnics are our main challenge. We have to make sure that it doesn’t enter the stadium. On non matchdays, access control and making sure that all the gates are closed are our key priorities.

Can you share more information about a project at Telia Parken of which you are proud?

A decade ago, we launched our FCK Away system. Fans which want to attend away matches of FC København have to sign up for the Away fan club and should be known in our database before getting access to away tickets. When they arrive at the stadium, they have to swipe their fan card at a scanner. On the scanner, a steward from our club will see a picture of the fan and a green or red frame around the picture. If the frame is green, there are no problems and the fan will be able to attend the match. However, when the frame turns red, the fan will first have to talk to the responsible steward to learn what the problem might be e.g. a new picture, an incident during a previous match, etc. We receive a lot of positive feedback about the system during our away matches. 

“The FCK Away system is something the club has been using for the last decade. We have received a lot of positive feedback from clubs we visited about the system.”

Why should ESSMA Members participate in the ESSMA Safety & Security Workshop?

Connecting with industry professionals and sharing best practices are extremely important. The ESSMA Safety & Security Workshop is a great opportunity to share our knowledge with each other. There is a lot we already know, but you will always bring something new and valuable back to your stadium after events like these.

Furthermore, I want to share the best practices of Telia Parken with all ESSMA Members and learn from other participants as well.

“There is a lot of things that we already know, but there will always be something that you can bring with you home to use in your own league ore in your own stadium.”