UEFA warns of pyrotechnic dangers

There can be no safe use of pyrotechnics in football stadiums - the clear message from a UEFA seminar in Munich on the issue.

UEFA will do its utmost to reduce the harm caused by pyrotechnics
UEFA will do its utmost to reduce the harm caused by pyrotechnics ©Getty Images for UEFA

UEFA reiterated the findings from the recent independent research study that there can be no safe use of pyrotechnics in football stadiums at the UEFA Pyrotechnics Seminar in Munich.

In his opening address, Michael van Praag, UEFA Executive Committee member and UEFA Stadium and Security Committee chairman, stressed that UEFA was committed to providing a safe, secure and welcoming environment for supporters.

He said: “As part of the new UEFA stadium and security strategy, we want to work with our pan-European partners and national associations to raise our game. We will tackle those who pose dangers to our spectators, our matches and our sport, and stay one step ahead of threats and risks. The key message of the pyrotechnics report is clear: there can be no safe use of pyrotechnics in spectator areas in football stadiums."

Mr Van Praag also detailed UEFA’s new stadium and security policy statement on pyrotechnics. He said: “UEFA will help national associations do everything they can to reduce the harm caused by pyrotechnics. This means working together and effectively to prevent and counter their use in stadiums. UEFA and the football authorities recognise that they cannot achieve this aim in isolation.

“UEFA will work in partnership with the Council of Europe and the European Union to develop and deliver an integrated multi-agency approach to preventing and countering pyrotechnic use in football stadiums at European, national and local level. The new 2016 European (Council of Europe) Convention on Integrated Safety, Security and Service will provide the foundation for this multi-agency approach.”

The seminar was attended by security officers from all UEFA national associations, UEFA security officers and UEFA Stadium and Security Committee members, as well as representatives from the European Union Think Tank, Council of Europe and the National Football Information Point.

Delegates heard from Dr Tom Smith, author of the independent scientific report into the use of pyrotechnics commissioned by UEFA and the Football Supporters Europe (FSE). He went through the findings of the report in detail, and said: “The risk is not just to supporters. Players, officials and staff must also be protected.”

“The clear message is that pyrotechnics must not be handled by anybody until they have burned out. Even then, they must be handled only by trained and equipped staff. If pyrotechnics are thrown on the pitch, the referee may need to suspend play until they have burned out.”

The day-long seminar also included sessions and lively debates on issues such as motives of pyrotechnic use; the civil and criminal liabilities associated with the use of pyrotechnics at in stadiums; and how best to tailor an integrated multi-agency approach to the problem of pyrotechnics at football events.

UEFA will now work with pan-European partners to implement a multi-agency approach to eradicating pyrotechnic use on football stadiums, and UEFA will offer training programmes and masterclasses on pyrotechnics to national associations, so that the problem of pyrotechnics at football matches can be tackled at national as well as European level.

 

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