Spectator safety is a joint effort between all participants in the event. Security personnel must ensure the safety and comfort of spectators, mainly through guidance and advice. Spectators are expected to behave appropriately, without unduly disturbing others. In Finland, safety at sports events is, in general, good.
The event organiser is responsible for maintaining order and ensuring safety at the event, and the organiser must be aware of its duties pertaining to the provision of a safe and welcoming event before, during and after the event. Safety is a broad concept, including spectator, fire, crime, and food safety, as well as first aid and public order.
As a spectator
The spectators of an event must behave appropriately, without unduly disturbing others. All forms of racism or racist behaviour are prohibited and should be prevented beforehand. It is prohibited to bring intoxicants or dangerous items to events.
Promoting a positive support culture is in everyone’s interest. Spectator safety is not only built on risk management or safety arrangements. Sufficient services aimed at all spectators, both home and guest, and friendly attitudes increase the comfort of the event and thereby contribute to safety. In competition events, every effort must be made to reduce a hostile atmosphere.
Co-operation with authorities
The organiser must issue a written notification of arranging an event to the local police five days before the start of the event at the latest. However, the notification need not be issued for an event that, due to the small number of participants, its nature or the type of location, does not require any special traffic arrangements or special measures to keep order and maintain safety and to prevent inconvenience to outsiders and the environment.
Police and rescue vehicles must have unobstructed access to the areas they consider necessary. The event must be interrupted or terminated if its continuation would cause immediate danger to people’s safety, property or the environment. The police can issue instructions and rules about organising the event before or during it, where necessary. High-ranking police officers have the right to interrupt or terminate a public event if other measures have proved insufficient.
Certain supporters or groups of supporters may increase the risk level of an event. By definition, a risk supporter is a known or unknown person who, under certain circumstances, may pose a risk of disorder or antisocial behaviour, either planned or spontaneously, at or in connection with a football event. The definition can also be applied to other sports. It is known that risk supporter groups have agreed on and arranged fights, for example, in connection with football and ice hockey matches.
It is important that authorities and event organisers stay informed and work to prevent violent behaviour in advance. The risk of disturbing public order is dynamic, so it can increase and decrease rapidly depending on the situation. In order to decrease the risks, supporter groups should be contacted in advance to gather information about their behaviour, intentions, concerns, issues, and other matters relevant to their behaviour. In order to improve communication between supporters and clubs, Supporter Liaison Officers (SLO) have been introduced in some sports. They promote the exchange of information between the parties, thereby improving the comfort and safety of the event.