The Football Safety Officers Association (FSOA) has reached a unique training landmark. Recently, Derek Kirkwood, Head of Security at the Scottish Football Association became the 200th candidate to be awarded the FSOA’s ‘Certificate in Event and Matchday Safety Management’.
The course was launched at Trent Bridge in October 2002, having been developed in partnership with Sue Watson of the Leeds based training organisation, Watson Associates. Sue, formerly Deputy Safety Officer at Leeds United FC, was tasked with preparing a bespoke course to develop the theoretical and practical roles and responsibilities of safety officers.
Subsequently, the course was accredited by the University of Portsmouth and has grown dramatically. In addition to football, the course has taken up by a number of other sports, including rugby, horse racing and cricket. It has even extended to include candidates from local government as well as UK and overseas police forces. The six day course is considered by many as the ideal springboard for participants wishing to achieve a Level 4 qualification in Spectator Safety Management.
The FSOA was formed in 1992 with the aim of ‘improving safety at football grounds by enhancing both the role of safety management and the status of the Safety Officer within the football industry’. It now boasts a membership of over 300 UK based safety officers, deputies and stadium managers.