THE 10,000 SEAT RULE - THE FACTS

Recent News

Published: 7th April 2004

Following the events of recent weeks and the on-going media discussion surrounding the SPL's Stadia Criteria, the SPL have sent the Club the following document outlining some facts regarding the existing rules and how they were established. The text of the document is as follows:-


There is much misunderstanding about the requirement upon SPL Clubs to have registered grounds that meet the stadium criteria. These criteria reflect requirements that predate the existence of the SPL by several years. They come out of work done in the aftermath of the disasters at Ibrox and Hillsborough. The government, the SFA and the SFL agreed the rules. The following points are key to the current rules:

In 1994 the Scottish football authorities, together with the Government (then the Scottish Office) determined that the stadia of all premier clubs should be all seated and have a minimum capacity of 10,000. This became embodied in the SFL Stadia Handbook.

Agreement with the Scottish Office removed the need for a Football Licensing Authority, as was introduced in England and Wales;

These rules were developed to ensure compliance with the Safety at Sports Grounds Act 1975 and the recommendations of the Taylor Report into the tragedy at Hillsborough on 15 April 1989;

Lord Taylor's Report stated that such rules were required for reasons of "safety, public order and spectator comfort";

The requirement for 10,000 seats has been in place since 1993/94 although clubs were allowed until the end of season 1997/98 to complete the work. This requirement is detailed in National Planning Policy Guideline 11 - Sport, Physical Recreation and Open Space;

The SPL inherited the 10,000-seat requirement for premier grounds from the SFL and SFA in 1998. An agreement reached then saw the deadline for compliance extended by one year until July 1999;

The SPL has fully accepted its responsibility in respect of the assurances given in 1994;

The SPL has taken, and continues to take, an entirely consistent approach to the application of these rules over the past six years;

Neither the SFA nor the SFL has sought any review of these rules;

The new UEFA Licensing system includes similar provisions in respect of stadia.

SPL Executive Chairman, Lex Gold, has engaged Ministers at the Scottish Executive on this matter. He has also proposed a review of the criteria be carried out by the SPL, SFA and SFL. This means that all of Scottish senior football will be involved in the review, as they were in the creation of the rules.