Karen Eyre-White, Chief Executive Introduction
I am delighted to have joined the Sports Grounds Safety Authority as Chief Executive.
I’m four weeks into the role and from the start it has been clear that I’ve joined not just an organisation but a community of partner organisations working together to ensure all spectators can enjoy watching sport in safety, in England and Wales and across the world. The Hillsborough Inquests remind us daily just how critical that work is and it is a privilege to lead an organisation which has played such an important role in transforming the UK’s approach to safety management at sports grounds over the last 25 years.
Over the past weeks I have been struck by the depth of expertise and knowledge within the organisation. The SGSA is made up of truly world-class experts, all of whom are passionate about promoting the highest standards of safety management and providing an excellent service to our wide range of customers. I would like to commend my predecessor, Ruth Shaw, and recognise in particular her leadership of the SGSA through a time of considerable uncertainty around its status. Rick Riding, Interim Chief Executive, has led the organisation with commitment and integrity in the time since Ruth Shaw left, and I am grateful for all he has done.
The SGSA has an important statutory responsibility to regulate local authorities in their oversight of safety at the 92 football clubs in the Football League and the Premier League, and at Wembley and the Millennium Stadium, and to issue licences to those 94 stadia to enforce the Government’s all-seater policy. Above and beyond that core role, we provide advice and guidance, set standards and collaborate with a community of partner organisations to promote best practice in safety management at sports grounds. Since 2011 our expanded remit allows us to share that expertise and support not only with football in England and Wales, but with other sports and across the world. We’ve done that successfully, bringing our world-class expertise to benefit sports such as cricket and countries including Australia, Qatar and Uruguay. Our challenge is always to share our expertise as widely as we can, whilst remaining focused on our purpose and keeping our statutory role front and centre.
I’m still getting to know the range of organisations we work and partner with, but it is clear there is a huge amount of shared will, dedication and commitment, and a strong collaborative culture from which everyone benefits.
I look forward to meeting you in the coming months and working with you as, together, we continue the important work of ensuring all spectators can enjoy watching sport in safety.