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Football clubs resist crowd induced movement testing

FOOTBALL CLUBS are resisting pressure to have their stadiums checked for signs of excessive crowd induced movement during matches or pop concerts, the Football Licencing Authority (FLA) said this week.

Local authorities are also ignoring government guidance on the matter because they lack the skills to supervise tests.

Dangers associated with excessive structural response to rhythmic crowd movement include the risk of panic, leading to stampedes as structures move under rhythmic loads.

FLA chief executive John de Quidt told NCE this week that the response to two advisory documents published in the last 12 months had been patchy.

The FLA is responsible for football stadium safety.

'We haven't made as much progress as we would have liked, ' he said.

'Technically this is the most challenging issue we've ever faced, very much at the cutting edge of technology, and it may be that local authorities no longer have the engineering skills to cope with it.

'But this is also not a good time to get the average football club to lay out up to £40,000 to test for a problem which may never happen.'

In November 2001 a working party made up of representatives of the Institution of Structural Engineers, the Department of Transport Local Government & the Regions and the Department for Culture Media & Sport published interim guidance on the dynamic performance requirements for permanent grandstands.

This was followed in June this year with an advisory note on dynamic testing.

Both documents stressed the need for physical tests on stands rather than desk studies using finite element analysis, as only actual physical tests could give reliable results.

Excessive rhythmic loading can occur at football matches as well as pop concerts, de Quidt said, and can involve lateral swaying as well as vertical bouncing.

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