EPFL Workshop on Stadium Management shares best practices

EPFL and ESSMA joined forces

Stadium management, best practices and knowledge-sharing were the key words at the successful EPFL Workshop on Stadium Management, which was held on 26th February 2013 at the Commerzbank-Arena in Frankfurt, Germany. Organised in partnership with the European Stadium & Safety Management Association (ESSMA), the event gathered  an impressive line-up of stadium management experts from Leagues, clubs, venues and other sports organisations from all over Europe and beyond to debate and share best practices and latest innovations in the field of stadium management.

The Workshop, held under the chairmanship of by EPFL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, tackled questions such as the current trends and prospective developments in the area of stadia management (with a particular focus on the question of sustainability), the strategies and the means developed by Leagues and clubs to enhance fans’match day experience in football venues (notably by maintaining strong links with local communities), as well as the challenges and best practices on dealing with supporters’ behaviours (with effective management of crowd dynamics as an essential feature).

The success of the event owed a lot to the active contributions of top level international speakers from the EPFL, ESSMA, the German Football League (DFL), the English Premier League, the French Football League and Union of Football Clubs (UCPF), the Pro League of Belgium as well as the US Major League of Soccer, the Council of Europe’s Standing Committee on Spectator Violence, Qatar-based International Centre for Sport Security (ICSS) and Cardiff City FC, among others.

EFPL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros
EFPL CEO Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros

At the end of the Workshop, Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros expressed his satisfaction on the excellent tenure and the high quality of the different interventions: “In many ways, stadiums are in the centre of everything in football. It is the natural habitat of the game, it is at the core of clubs’revenue growth and it is a rallying point for the club, its fans and its surrounding community. As such, effective, sustainable and safe stadium management is a sine qua non for football as a whole. The main objective of this Workshop was exactly that. To show how central stadium management is for the development of football and the larger community and what can be done to make the visit at the stadium a great experience for all. This was possible thanks to the great support of ESSMA and the high level of the speakers and participants in attendance. From the feedback I received they enjoyed the knowledge-sharing and the exchange of best practices. I am grateful they made it happen.”

ESSMA Managing Director Dimitri Huygen
ESSMA Managing Director Dimitri Huygen

ESSMA General Manager Dimitri Huygen fully agreed with this: “The great wealth of ESSMA members sharing their knowledge has brought this event to a resounding success. However we still need the sense of urgency amongst stadium management on a European level to raise the standard and use best practices to increase the knowledge in stadiums. Events like this workshop are really important to share proven cases.”

Jo Vanhecke, Director of the Football Unit at the Belgian Ministry of the Interior and Chairman of the Council of Europe’s Standing Committee on the Convention on Spectator Violence: “What was obvious in this Workshop is that at the centre of most speeches on stadium management was the figure of the fan as a positive element, an engine for development and a valued interlocutor. In other conferences, I often seen the fan only depicted as a hooligan, a source of violence and misbehaviours with all the prejudices this perspective can carry. Here it was about how fans have to be considered as an asset for professional football. This Workshop showed how much we have evolved. The positivity of the message delivered here was key and really inspiring.”

ICSS Executive Director Helmut Spahn
ICSS Executive Director Helmut Spahn

Helmut Spahn, the Executive Director of ICSS, stated: “The Workshop was a great event to promote best practices and share-knowledge on Stadium Management. Its success lied in the wide range of different presentations and different perspectives. It is important to hold such Workshops to share knowledge. Looking for best practice and lesson-learning are key for a professional improvement.”

Cardiff City FC Commercial Director Julian Jenkins
Cardiff City FC Commercial Director Julian Jenkins

Cardiff City FC’s Commercial Director Julian Jenkins added: “The EPFL event was hugely successful in displaying best practice across the globe. The knowledge base was extremely high and all delegates would have benefited from the day. I like the way in which the workshop flowed and the ample time to network. It is extremely important to bring likeminded individuals together to discuss best practice, this is the only way the game will grow. The workshop is invaluable to all parties as it highlights best practice and lessons that have been learnt along the way. This will certainly speed up the much needed progress football needs due to the ever changing challenges.” 

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