SGSA invited to Uruguay to share lessons from the UK

Flag of Uruguay

The SGSA visited Montevideo, Uruguay last month, where with the valuable support of the British Embassy, they worked with representatives from the Government and those associated with managing Uruguayan football to share the organisation’s experience in sports grounds safety management.

Uruguayan football is reminiscent of how the sport was in the UK during the 70’s and 80’s, offering poor ground facilities, often having to deal with serious crowd violence and caging in supporters. The SGSA was invited to assist and advise the principle stakeholders on developing their own national approach to combating violence and improving ground conditions; two issues that are inextricably linked.

The SGSA had meetings with the Association of Uruguayan Football (AUF), senior representatives of the leading Clubs and the Minister of Sport, who has being tasked by the Country’s new President Vázquez to find a solution to combat violence in football in the country.

SGSA Inspectors Sue Storey and Geoff Galilee spoke at the ITC’s Security and Safety in Sports Events conference about the UK’s journey over the past 25 years in eradicating crowd violence and improving ground design and spectator facilities. The event was attended by representatives from the government, AUF, clubs, local authorities and media.

Geoff says “It was a worthwhile visit and we learnt a lot about the challenges facing Uruguay. The UK faced difficulties in the past but now has some of the safest sports grounds in the world. The SGSA’s ethos of sharing good practice to keep spectator safe extends to all sports and countries. Whilst we recognise that each country is unique and has its own challenges, the SGSA has some valuable experiences that others can benefit from.”

The sports ministry has invited the SGSA back later in the year to participate in a government event delivering advice and guidance through workshops; in addition the state company ITC have indicated that they would like to travel to the UK to train with British experts.