Stadium Guidelines


05 min. reading time

The stadium precinct refers to the area containing the stadium building and the surrounding public, semi-public or secure and private areas.


A stadium will ideally be located within a spacious precinct to allow for optimal safety, security and operational efficiency.

When stadiums are used for major tournaments, such as the FIFA World Cup finals, it is a requirement to operate two concentric secure perimeters which create three primary zones within the stadium precinct, which are shown in Figure 5.1.1 and described below. For larger stadiums hosting high-profile events, these principles could also be seen as best practice. It is far easier to plan for the implementation of these zones and perimeters, rather than face the challenges of trying to retrospectively fit these to existing spaces. For smaller stadiums, such zoning is less common and spectators are often only required to pass through a single perimeter line before entering the stadium itself – this being the inner perimeter line where the final formal ticket check is conducted at the turnstiles or other controlled entry points.

When considering the perimeters and zones to be incorporated into a stadium project, this decision should be informed by the scale and profile of the events hosted and/or aspirations regarding the hosting of major tournaments.

Regardless of the scale of the stadium, the concept of a precinct, at least one secure perimeter and the transition from a public to a secure zone should be applied to any stadium project.

Figure 5.1.1
A stadium precinct with perimeters and zones

Public zone

This zone incorporates the area immediately outside the control of the stadium authority. This will incorporate the “Last Mile”, which refers to the external zone immediately beyond the outer perimeter, consisting of pedestrian routes leading to/from transport hubs and car parking facilities.

Outer perimeter

This is a secure perimeter boundary beyond which only those with access rights (accreditation card, match ticket or other access device) may be admitted. Ticket and accreditation collection facilities should therefore be accessible from the outside of the outer perimeter. Typically, search and screening of pedestrians and vehicles are also carried out here, and it is for this purpose that the boundary line should be a safe distance away from the stadium building.

Inner perimeter

This boundary is where a final formal ticket check, or ticket validation, is conducted at turnstiles or other controlled entry points. The demarcation could be the line of the stadium building or a fence line comprising the turnstiles or controlled entry points. If an outer perimeter is established for an event or part of the design of the precinct, ticket resolution facilities must be provided in the zone between the inner and outer perimeters to allow ticket holders to resolve issues without having to leave the outer perimeter.

Within the inner perimeter, a zone is created which comprises the stadium’s interior spaces including the stadium building, spectator viewing accommodation, internal concourses, hospitality areas and all other areas that are reserved for holders of accreditation or tickets.

Signage and wayfinding for the stadium precinct and navigation into and out of the stadium are covered in Section 5.5.

An aerial view of the outer perimeter at the Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro. The white canopied structures contain the spectator searching areas.


The main purpose of an outer perimeter is security. Firstly, it ensures that no unauthorised persons are admitted to the surrounding environment of the stadium building. Secondly, it can create a safe distance between the stadium building as a crowded space and any potential threat or attack.

If an outer perimeter is in place, it is likely that the first check of tickets, passes and accreditation will take place here along with search and screening procedures. For this purpose, there must be a sufficient number of controlled separate entry points for vehicles and pedestrians.

The outer perimeter should be located a sufficient distance away from the inner perimeter to allow for the safe and comfortable flow of large numbers of spectators during normal and emergency circumstances. The exact spacing between the two perimeters is usually determined in conjunction with the relevant local authorities and will need to consider the overall site space available, as well as the general and specific security risks to the venue. Crowd-flow modelling by specialist engineers should be undertaken to test designs and to ensure that the overall capacity of its entry and exit points as well as the total area available for queueing and circulation is sufficient for the required operations.

Any vehicles entering the outer perimeter may need to be searched in order to maintain the integrity of the secure zone within the outer perimeter. This will also apply to service and delivery vehicles entering the site, and a defined logistics entry point with search facilities is usually required to facilitate this.

A wall or fence is usually the most suitable option to enclose the outer perimeter. It is recommended that this be at least 2.5m in height, able to withstand pressure, and not be easy to scale, penetrate, pull down or remove. Perimeter fences should be monitored by CCTV or security posts or a combination of the two.

Access gates at controlled entry points along the outer perimeter line must be able to be opened or closed quickly without causing any danger or hazard. The gates should be designed to withstand pressure from large crowds of people. When open, the gates must be firmly secured. The gates must also be equipped with fireproof locks and should not provide hand or footholds which could assist climbing.

Entry points to the outer perimeter are usually equipped with facilities for searching spectators and their possessions. It may be necessary to provide secure facilities for the temporary storage of prohibited items – these should be located at a safe distance outside of the outer perimeter. The number of accessible entry points for disabled spectators or guests or those with limited mobility should be sufficient for the number of guests or spectators expected to attend any event at the stadium.

Turnstiles and holding area


The inner perimeter is where tickets and other forms of accreditation are checked and validated for access to the main stadium building (and is sometimes built into the stadium walls). It will usually contain the turnstiles.

Turnstiles are the most common method of controlling individual access to the stadium and there are a number of varieties available. Full-height turnstiles offer the greatest security and mitigate the risk of unauthorised access. Half-height turnstiles or sliding gates are often considered more customer-friendly and are therefore often favoured at access points to premium areas such as hospitality lounges. The choice of turnstile should be assessed against the general risk connected with the audience expected, and it is not uncommon to have more than one type of turnstile installed at a large stadium.

Provision should be made at all turnstiles and entry points to the inner perimeter to accurately check the validity of tickets and/or accreditation and to provide an accurate count of the number of spectators entering the stadium. This is to prevent overcrowding within any area of the stadium. It is recommended that an electronic access control (EAC) system be in place. This will act as the interface between the ticketing system and the operation of the turnstiles, and automatically provide the information required to monitor the flow of spectators into the stadium. The EAC system can also be integrated with the control of accreditation for non-ticketing groups.

The number of turnstiles and entry points, along with their positioning, will depend upon local circumstances, including the arrival profile of spectators, the approach routes to the stadium and the method of entry. Calculations regarding capacities of entry points are normally based on an ingress period of 60 minutes. However, the overarching objective should be to avoid significant congestion and delays outside the turnstiles. Section 7 of the SGSA’s Guide to Safety at Sports Grounds (6th Edition) provides further details on managing spectator ingress.

Any turnstiles or entrance facilities that are incorporated within the inner perimeter should, to ensure security, be able to withstand any attempts to damage or remove them and they should be fireproof.

Figure 5.1.2
Access gate used by disabled people and people with limited mobility

Turnstiles on the boundary to the inner perimeter should have provision for the access of disabled spectators and people with limited mobility. Turnstiles with rotating arms (or a similar device to prevent more than one person entering at once) at ticket checkpoints are typically not suitable for wheelchair users and persons using mobility aids or accompanied by assistance dogs.

Access gates or openings with a minimum width of 100cm should be included to ensure an inclusive and accessible experience for disabled people, people with limited mobility and spectators with children’s pushchairs. If it is not possible to incorporate an accessible gate to the inner perimeter, alternatives such as operating hand-held scanners at a suitable entry point may be considered.

It should be anticipated that crowd congestion may occur from time to time, and additional operational space for safety stewards and policing should be considered. Amenities such as refreshment and merchandise kiosks or toilets should be located away from the immediate vicinity of the turnstiles and entry points to prevent crowd congestion.

Turnstile blocks should be associated with a specific sector of the stadium, and consequently, each sector should ideally be designed to be self-contained so that there are separate facilities in each sector, allowing them to be independently managed. Public address (PA) system coverage should be provided to the turnstile blocks.


Dedicated exit points should be provided. The turnstiles used to enter the stadium are not designed to facilitate large flows of spectators at the end of the game or in an emergency scenario. Therefore, they are not suitable as exit points and separate exit points are required. There should be no stadium furniture, overlay, amenities or other obstructions blocking exit points at any time.

Signage should be installed to ensure that emergency exit routes are clearly visible and signed according to local authority regulations (see Section 5.5).

Sufficient circulation space is required outside exit points for the safe egress of all spectators and guests leaving the stadium concurrently, both in normal and emergency circumstances.

Figure 5.1.3
Accessible parking layout


Parking provision should be consistent with the stadium mobility plan, and vehicle flows should, where possible, be separated from the main pedestrian routes approaching the stadium. Where this is not possible, mitigation measures should be considered in line with local requirements.

Where an outer perimeter is implemented, the majority of car parking facilities should be located outside this perimeter with the exception of dedicated and marked parking areas for players and officials, VVIPs, broadcast trucks, and equipment and emergency services.

Sufficient parking for cars and other vehicles may be required for:

• teams, technical staff and their guests;
• match officials;
• VVIP and VIP guests;
• emergency services (see Sub-Section 5.4.4);
• maintenance staff and service vehicles;
• stadium organisation staff;
• broadcast and media (including trucks and equipment);
• parking for spectators, including special larger spaces as designated by local codes for disabled spectators and/or spectators with limited mobility;
• commercial partners/sponsors and hospitality guests; and
• suppliers, matchday staff and contractors.

Hospitality guests often require parking facilities, if not adjacent to the stadium then usually within a short walking distance.

Supporters of the visiting (away) team need to be carefully managed and will often arrive in vehicles that, for security and safety reasons, are best parked close to the stadium and sometimes also require a dedicated access route.

The stadium should ensure that vehicles and accessible spectator routes are independent. Should these routes need to cross, signals should be installed, with adequate time allowed for people to cross the vehicle route before a signal is sent for vehicles to move.

Accessible parking bays should be provided either within the stadium precinct or close by, with as short a travel distance as possible.

Accessible pick-up/drop-off points should be positioned as close to the relevant entrances/exits of the stadium building as is practical, with as short a travel distance as possible. These pick-up/drop-off areas should also be used by accessible mini-buses and coaches with adequate space to manoeuvre and set down groups of fans at the same time without impeding the circulation of other traffic. Taxi pick-up/drop-off areas should also be positioned and configured to be accessible by disabled people and people with limited mobility.

Car parking facilities should be designed according to local regulations. These facilities should be sufficiently lit with adequate lighting and built on even, solid and well-drained surfaces. Designated routes should be marked to allow pedestrians to safely find their way to and from their stadium entry point. Where segregated viewing facilities are provided for visiting teams, the segregation of parking facilities may also need to be considered.

It is recommended that bicycle parking areas be actively promoted by stadium projects, reflecting general public health aspirations across the globe. Local codes will need to be applied.

Where cycle parking is provided at stadiums, it should be accessible to disabled cyclists, and the storage of tandems and adapted cycles should be considered. Relief areas for assistance dogs within the stadium precinct should also be considered.


Consideration should be given to a dedicated point for managing and processing accreditations (for non-ticketed persons requiring access to the stadium). This needs to be accessible on event days from the outside of any security controlled area such as the stadium perimeter.

The size and location of any accreditation point will depend upon the size and intended use of the stadium. If the stadium has a relatively simple use profile (e.g. standard club tenant) with operations covered by regular staff, then a small space will suffice or the function could be integrated with others. If the stadium is intended to regularly host large external events and tournaments, then a dedicated space could be considered instead of temporary installations.

This space and its functions could be divided as follows:

• Reception area for the person(s) applying for or collecting accreditation
• Waiting area
• Area to take photographs with a suitable backdrop
• Administration area for the staff processing applications and producing accreditations

All areas should be accessible to disabled people and people with limited mobility in accordance with the specifications of local codes.