Are Stadiums Safe?
Old Trafford was home to yet another unfortunate news story this year in the latest to unsettle the theatre of dreams. Two men were caught hiding in the stadium toilets as they attempted to stay there overnight in order to watch a match vs Arsenal.
The two fans were on a stadium tour during the Friday night, before they broke away from their visiting group and hid in the toilets. They were hoping to get free access to the game, before being caught by security. The pair were immediately handed over to the police, where all of their items were put through a metal detector. Police decided not to press charges as the two men were found as ‘harmless.’
It is not the first time that the security at Old Trafford has been questioned, following an incident at the end of last season which saw a possible bomb scare. Luckily the device found was a fake, which was used during a testing event at the Manchester stadium. Security firm, Security Search Management & Solutions had left behind the pseudo bomb when doing an exercise with sniffer dogs. After the exercise, the firm had failed to account for all the devices, accidentally leaving one behind.
Over the year’s stadium security has increased tenfold. They are much safer places to be, with parents no longer concerned about bringing you children to matches. With stadiums now all seaters, they have certainly come a long way since the Hillsborough and Heysel disaster, which had stands without seats.
Even for the fans who want to get on their feet and start shouting there are limitations. Some stadiums have implemented all standings, stands in an attempt to allow fans who want to sing and express their emotions, in a controlled environment.
Richard Murray from Arinite health and safety advisors said, ‘Stadiums have become much better, not only during games, but general security before and after. Although Old Trafford has been breached a couple of times, security and safety at stadiums is explementary.’
Although football hooliganism was a hot topic during the European Championships in France, that was mostly in fan hot spots, as supporters would deliberately clash in an attempt to cause rioting. However, security also cracked down on these issues, during the matches there was only one real incident of concern, when Russian fans attacked English supporters during a game. Although there was this violence, generally security and safety during the tournament was very good.
Despite Old Trafford being breached, general safety at football matches has increased hugely, with security forces also on hand to quickly and efficiently deal with any incidents which do occur.