September 16 – One of African football’s biggest problems across the continent is the condition and safety of stadiums. The African confederation highlighted the issues this year, even banning some from use. A UN-certified Sport Safety and Security Training and Advanced Education Programme for professionals in Africa football has been launched as a step towards finding solutions.
A joint initiative of The Confederation of African Football (CAF), the International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and UNITAR’s International Training Centre for Authorities and Leaders (CIFAL), the programme has been developed principally for African football federations, leagues, and clubs.
Its aim is develop the skills and knowledge of safety and security professionals in African football, with the objective of advancing sport safety, security, integrity, and socio-economic development.
Titled Sport Safety and Security Fundamentals, it is first of a series of courses that will be rolled out by the three partners this year, which will include courses on Sport Safety and Security Planning, Safety and Security at Major Sporting Events, Threat and Risk Assessments, COVID-19: Safety and Security Planning for the New Normal, Physical Protective Security Measures, Technical Protective Security Measures, Operational Protective Security Measures, Incident Response and Crisis Management, Safety and Security Command and Control, Crowd Management, Calculating Venue Safe Capacity and Safety and Security in the Context of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
“In its initial stage, the training will primarily be aimed at safety and security professionals from national football federations, national and local football leagues, as well as football clubs on the African continent,” said a joint press release.
Commenting on the roll out of the programme, the ICSS CEO, Massimiliano Montanari (pictured), said: “Safety and security practitioners serve as the guardians of football competitions and thanks to their work, which is often behind the scenes, the players, spectators and the overall football community is protected. It is time to fully recognize and internationally certify their role and give it the importance it deserves.”
African football has been plagued by safety issues which have too frequently resulted in deaths at big matches where crowds have overwhelmed the safety provisions. Recently CAF told eight number of member associations that their stadiums need to be upgraded before they could be used to host World Cup qualifiers that were scheduled for June.
“Our goal has always been to make our stadiums safe for all football stakeholder groups and to achieve this we need to have trained personnel responsible for the safety and security arrangements in our stadiums. Today we are witnessing one of the benefits of our collaboration with the ICSS and UNITAR’s CIFAL, and we are glad to be part of this history,” said Dr. Christian Emeruwa, who heads the CAF Safety and Security Department.
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