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Explanatory Memorandum to Safety of Sports Grounds (Northern Ireland)Order 2006

Part II – Safety of Designated Sports Grounds

Article 4 – Designation of sports grounds

12.Article 4 empowers the Department to designate a sports ground as requiring a safety certificate that in its opinion provides accommodation for more than 5,000 spectators. It also empowers the Department to change the figure of 5,000 after consultation with all interested parties (this may include the club/organisation, District Council and/or governing sporting body).

13.Although Article 4(1) empowers the Department to designate sports grounds with a capacity of more than 5,000 spectators, it is the Department’s intention that this will only apply to enclosed type sports grounds e.g. sports stadia and sports arenas i.e. sports stadia that host association football, gaelic games, rugby football, hockey and cricket.

It is not the Department’s intention that this Order will be used to designate golf courses, horse racing courses, motor racing tracks or other sporting events such as horse trials and point to point meetings that are held outdoors over a large area.

14.A District Council may issue a safety certificate for an indefinite period of time which will cover the normal sporting activities played at the designated sports ground e.g. a safety certificate could be issued to an association football club that will cover all association football matches played at the ground or to a county gaelic ground that will cover all GAA games played at the ground.

15.A District Council may issue a safety certificate known as a special safety certificate for a single event or activity or for a specified number of events or activities at a designated sports ground even though there is a safety certificate in operation. A special certificate would cover any other sporting or non-sporting event held at the designated sports ground, e.g. an evangelical meeting, dog show or a boxing tournament.

Article 6 – Applications for safety certificates

16.Article 6 sets out who should apply for safety certificates for designated sports grounds and empowers District Councils to determine who is a qualified person for the purposes of issuing certificates to. The qualified person is someone considered by the District Council likely to be in a position to prevent any contravention of the terms and conditions of a safety certificate but it does not necessarily have to be an individual; it can be the body corporate if the organisation applying for the certificate is an incorporated company.

Article 8 – Appeals

17.Article 8 sets out the appeal procedures as they relate to the issuing of safety certificates for designated sports grounds. It allows for appeals to be made to the Courts by anyone who has applied for a safety certificate and who a District Council has determined is not a qualified person or by an interested party against any of the terms and conditions included in the certificate.

Article 11 – Offences

18.Article 11 sets out the offences and penalties as they relate to Part II of this Order. Offences include admitting more spectators than is permitted by the safety certificate to a designated sports ground or part of the ground or admitting spectators when a certificate has been surrendered or cancelled. Other offences include contravening the terms and conditions of a safety certificate or a prohibition notice.

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