UEFA report: There can be no safe use of pyrotechnics in football stadiums
The message from UEFA during the Pyrotechnics Masterclass on 4 and 5 April in the Netherlands was clear: there is no place for pyrotechnics in football stadiums.
An independent scientific study, commissioned by the UEFA together with Football Supporters Europe, showed that there are serious health and safety risks when using pyrotechnics in football stadiums and that safe use is not possible in spectator areas.
The results and findings were presented by Dr Tom Smith, who coordinated the research, working together with international and independent experts.
The conclusion of the report reads as follows:
- There are significant health and safety risks when pyrotechnic articles are used in close proximity to other people which is in contravention of the safety distances specified on the pyrotechnic articles themselves
- All pyrotechnic devices have a ‘safety’ distance for good reason which exceeds the available space within a crowded stand or stadium
- There are serious health and safety issues for users, fellow supporters, stadium and emergency service personnel and players and officials
- It is not safe for any pyrotechnic device to be used in spectator areas within football stadia
The Pyrotechnics Masterclass which ESSMA attended was hosted at the KNVB Campus, bringing together more than 150 representatives of Dutch Eredivisie and Jupiler League clubs, municipalities, police and the Public Prosecution Service.
During the congress, it was stated that the use of pyrotechnics is reported at over 25% of matches in UEFA competitions, making it one of the highest and most serious categories of reported incidents.
The cited figure above is evidence for the need of bringing club/stadium safety and security representatives together. UEFA has a clear mission to assist national associations and clubs in enhancing the safety and security at stadiums. Therefore, organizing a Pyrotechnics Masterclass is an ideal set-up to present the unequivocal scientific evidence why pyrotechnic articles should have no place in a stadium or at crowded places and it can be a starting point for an action strategy and plan on national level.
The UEFA working group on Pyrotechnics will continue their Masterclasses during the upcoming months in several European countries.
Key points of the Pyrotechnics Masterclass
During the 2-day programme, it was stressed out that:
- There is no such thing as safe use of pyrotechnics in crowded places (stadium, city centre, public transport,…)
- Education and communication are key, communicate the health and safety issues and the risks to fans, players, staff, etc.
- Prevention tactics are important: role of the SLOs, stadium security measures, robust searching, screenings,...
- Alternatives need to be implemented: choreographies, tifos, LED shows, use of musical instruments and others to create a thrilling and safe atmosphere
Should a pyrotechnic incident occur, it’s important to know by everyone involved that:
- Pyrotechnics are self-sustaining, meaning it is impossible to put them out
- You need to move away from pyrotechnic articles and let them burn out, never pick them up