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Stadium safety experts hone their skills

A training project has started for those with roles in safety and security management at UEFA EURO 2012 and will serve to develop students' awareness of the challenges ahead.

Participants in one of the EURO safety and security training events in London
Participants in one of the EURO safety and security training events in London ©UEFA.com

An innovative training project relating to safety and security for UEFA EURO 2012 is up and running. The project has been developed jointly by UEFA's Stadium and Security Unit and its partners in the pan-European Think Tank on Policing Football.

The initiative was launched with two five-day training programmes which took place in London, and involved more than 50 police commanders and stadium safety professionals from the two UEFA EURO 2012 host countries, Poland and Ukraine.

The participants were all identified as having key roles in integrated safety and security management at next summer's tournament, and represented all of the EURO host cities – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw (Poland) and Donetsk, Lviv, Kharkiv and Kyiv (Ukraine). The issues of improving safety and reducing violence in European football are crucial to this project, reflecting the commitment to these goals emphasised recently at the UEFA Congress in Paris by UEFA President Michel Platini.

The training programme has been designed over the last two years with the EURO tournament in mind. It seeks to develop students' awareness of the challenges of such an event through a combination of multimedia presentations on key themes, practical observations at major football matches and exposure to a specially developed interactive scenario-based learning environment.

The interactive application used in this part of the programme was devised by recognised experts in the field and tests the decision-making abilities of participants using incidents from previous tournaments. The application contrives to immerse students into the scenarios under the most realistic and challenging circumstances possible.

In addition to the deployment of this technology the course is enhanced by the involvement of a number of moderators, all of whom are recognised as European experts in international police cooperation, stadium management and policing operations. Furthermore, delivery is underpinned by up-to-date academic theory in crowd management provided by a respected authority in this sector. By the end of the programme, those taking part will have been exposed to the best practices available in relation to safety and security in the football context.

The general commissioner of the Polish Police Service, Andrzej Matejuk, attended one of the training events. "This training has given possibilities to achieve multilevel causal-effect analysis in the area of variable decision-making processes for police commanders attending to stadium operations.

"The content that has been handed over to participants corresponds perfectly with the security philosophy of UEFA EURO 2012 introduced by the Polish national police in May 2009."

Oleksander Birsan, deputy head of the National Agency for UEFA EURO 2012 in Ukraine, attended the second event. "On behalf of the Ukrainian delegation, let me express my sincere gratitude for the excellent organisation of the training in London under the auspices of UEFA, concerning safety and security at EURO 2012.

"All the participants noted the high professionalism of the teaching staff, and the accurate and well-coordinated work of the specialists who conducted the classes under the UEFA programme, as well as the modern teaching methods aimed at improving professional skills."

The programme will continue with regular sessions up to UEFA EURO 2012, and will form the basis for a pan-European Football Police Training Programme, funded by the European Commission and supported by UEFA.