Not An Everyday Occurrence
It’s not an everyday occurrence when you turn around and find the Sports Minister, Tracey Crouch, standing at the back of your control room, but that’s what happened at Chelsea before Christmas.
The Minister had expressed an interest in seeing the safety management side of the match day operation and had been invited to Chelsea, as a guest of the club, for the game against Tottenham.
She wondered if she might combine the two, so our Chief Executive Karen Eyre-White and I met her early to explain our role, mention some of the security arrangements and briefly give her a glimpse into the safety management operation at the club.
The safety officer briefed her on the functions of the control room and explained the roles and responsibilities of the operators. This was the first time she had been in an operational control room and was fascinated to learn about what was involved. She was also able to see the partnership working between the club and the police.
Walking around we saw the operation to facilitate the arrival of the away club coach and then into the first aid room, where she spoke to the St John volunteers. Onto the crèche, which she was delighted to see and thought all sports clubs should have one. Inside the bowl of the stadium, we pointed out some of the features that are unique to Chelsea, before it was time to point her in the direction of the boardroom.
She was reluctant to go and rather wished to go back to the control room to learn more. Hopefully, she found this a useful insight and it has fuelled her interest and understanding about the work that goes into keeping people safe at a sports ground.
With thanks to the team at Chelsea for accommodating her visit on what could have been one of the busiest matches of their season.
Lou Elliston – SGSA Inspector