Stadium Guidelines


05 min. reading time

Technical systems such as power and floodlighting are required to meet the needs of broadcasters, spectators, players and officials. These systems, along with water management systems and wider mechanical and electrical services, form the base for an effective stadium.


5.6.1 POWER

Each stadium’s power systems should be designed to suit the match and broadcast needs of the events it will host, from major international matches down to community stadiums for development groups. Power supplies will need to be resilient and incorporate redundancy in order to provide back-up. The minimum resiliency and redundancy needed at a stadium for its foreseen uses and throughout its intended lifespan should be carefully considered at the design stage. Appropriate flexibility to allow for power redundancy to be increased (whether temporarily for events, or permanently) or decreased later should also be included. The stadium’s electrical systems should be designed around these needs and considerations.

Utility power will usually be the primary power source for a stadium. Utility power is usually the most cost-efficient and sustainable power supply to meet stadium demands, particularly in comparison to fossil fuel combustion-based local generation. The resiliency, reliability and quality of stadium power supplies should be carefully considered and understood. The stadium’s electrical systems should be designed within this context.

Generators provide power redundancy

Common characteristics to analyse include the following:

• Overhead and underground services supplying the stadium
• Dedicated or shared lines supplying the stadium
• High- and low-voltage equipment capacity, age and condition
• Utility outages (local past record)

Supply arrangements to a stadium will vary. Large stadiums may be supplied by very secure, dedicated, on-site and upstream switchable dual-redundant high-voltage utility power supplies. Small stadiums may be supplied by only a single low-voltage utility power supply with little upstream redundancy. Any permutation may be appropriate, depending on the needs and context of each stadium.

However, all stadiums will require some level of redundant power. Even the smallest of stadiums must ensure that life-safety systems that require electrical power continue to operate in the event of an emergency and power failure, to guarantee the safe evacuation of all occupants. For larger stadiums, the delay or cancellation of a professional football match due to the loss of power (see Sub-Section 5.6.2) is generally considered to be unacceptable.

Primary power could be wholly or partially backed up by on-site generation equipment. It may be appropriate for the back-up to be permanently in place, or temporarily rented for relevant events. Stadiums may wish to explore the most appropriate rental or ownership model for their circumstances. The stadium’s electrical design should take all of these factors into account. Similarly, and whether back-up elements are temporary or permanent, the order of precedence and control logic for all automatic switching (cascaded switching logic) must be carefully designed and implemented to ensure that all elements operate as and when intended. When looking at power supply and demand, all stadiums should strive to achieve outstanding energy and sustainability targets and be powered from on-site and/or off-site renewable energy sources to target a net zero carbon building (refer to Sections 2.7 and 4.8 for further information).

The types of loads should be classified to help determine the amount of redundant capacity, and the type and size of the back-up equipment that the design will accommodate.

A typical breakdown of loads, and therefore the electrical design which must serve them, is predicated on their respective need for power resiliency.

In the event of a primary power failure and outage:

Non-essential and normal stadium loads
These can and will go off, for example:
• Power to food concessions
• Small power in offices
• Non-essential technology and communications systems

Event continuation/technical loads
These may experience a very short outage but will be quickly restored so that the event can continue.

With event continuation resiliency operating, the match can be completed and spectators can remain in their seats. Stadium services will likely be restricted. Power resiliency must be designed to negate the need for evacuation, even if primary power fails.

• Media working areas
• Turnstiles
• Giant video screens and scoreboards

Figure 5.6.1
A typical electrical arrangement for small stadiums

Figure 5.6.2
A typical electrical arrangement for medium and large stadiums (cascaded switching logic)

Uninterrupted technical
(usually a subset of technical power)
Power does not go off – systems which must continue for the purposes of event continuation, and which cannot tolerate even a short power outage, must be provided with an uninterruptable power supply during the event.

• Pitch lighting (match continuation mode)
• Stadium/Venue Operations Centre
• Essential communications and IT systems

Life safety
Life-safety resiliency must always be available. Power for emergency systems which are critical for the safety and security of every person in the stadium, and which ensure the venue can be evacuated, must receive independent resilient power.

• Fire detection, suppression and alarm systems
• Emergency egress lighting
• Emergency lift operation

The power system of a stadium, and the redundancy built into it, should be designed and built around these concepts and the stadium’s needs.


Floodlighting is obviously required for football to be played (and for spectators to be able to watch the action) when it is dark or light is poor, however, the design of stadium floodlighting systems is usually driven by the technical requirements for television broadcast of football or other professional sports because lighting in a stadium is fundamental to the production of high-quality television broadcast. These technical features can come at a high cost.

It is important for the stadium to consider the highest level of match that is likely to be played in the venue as significant changes or temporary overlay solutions to the floodlighting system can be challenging once the construction is completed.

The stadium project should first evaluate the likeliness of their venue being used for the broadcast of live matches. If the likeliness of broadcasting matches is low, then lower lighting standards are likely to be acceptable and more cost-effective.

In general, a floodlighting design should first account for providing a safe and comfortable environment for players, officials and spectators. Floodlighting should always minimise its effects
on the surrounding environment and should:

• provide enough illumination for players and spectators (horizontal illuminance);
• provide uniform, comfortable illumination without glare and with sufficient colour rendition;
• provide enough illumination for broadcast (vertical illuminance) from all anticipated camera positions; and
• reduce unwanted lighting spill to a minimum.

If a venue must provide good lighting for cameras and for television broadcast, the above extends to also include the following:

• Good modelling and uniformities (the right balance between shadows and highlights)
• Superior colour rendition and suitable correlated colour temperature
• No flicker

To provide good lighting, the stadium designer should carefully assess the installation geometry, the location where lighting masts or other structures will be positioned relative to the field of play, the type of lighting equipment used, the aiming angles and the lighting beams.

Depending on the category of the stadium, and therefore its size and configuration, floodlighting can be installed on the stadium roof (on the edge or underside), or on dedicated floodlighting structures such as poles, often found in the corners of the stadium. It is important that lighting poles are located outside of spectator sightlines and that they do not encroach upon the field of play.

Lighting classes

Lighting system design and the range of criteria to be considered are set out in the following sections. The key factor is to ensure that the lighting solution is appropriate to the scale of the venue and the matches and events it will host. The FIFA Lighting Guide has been produced to define the minimum standards for FIFA (final) tournaments.

The FIFA Lighting Guide defines four lighting standards for venues in which broadcast of live events is required (Standards A to D). A distinction is then made with venues where television coverage is unlikely (Standard E). Each of these standard classes comes with a slightly different set of lighting requirements as a function of the event hosted, however, the main difference lies in the presence of specific television broadcast requirements for vertical illuminance.

Figure 5.6.3
Extract from the FIFA Lighting Guide

Whilst these standards might not be appropriate for all stadiums, they can act as a reference point, particularly for any stadiums intending to host FIFA tournaments.

To achieve a suitable vertical illuminance with good modelling and uniformity, it is necessary to install luminaires at higher positions and at optimal angles. This will impact the stadium geometry as it performs a function of the lighting systems, particularly where lighting is intended to be roof-mounted. For a venue where televised events are not likely, lighting can be provided by a much simpler set of masts, which will just ensure enough lighting on the horizontal plane, uniformity and glare control. Thus, there are no constraints on the height of the masts and on their number, except that glare should be controlled and that masts should have a clear view of the field of play (and not be blocked by spectator stands and their roof, nor block spectator views).

System equipment

Lighting systems should be based on solid-state LED products. These products have a much-improved beam control compared to the previous generation of high-intensity discharge lamp-based lighting systems; this improved beam control achieves higher efficiency. The increased efficiency of LEDs also provides a sharper light distribution.

These products require careful design to account for glare due to the higher lighting intensities within narrower viewing directions as opposed to softer lenses in the previous generations. Close attention should be paid to ensure that correct aiming angles and exclusion zones are observed.

The advantages of LED products largely outweigh the disadvantages.

LEDs can be dimmed to match the needs of specific events, for example reducing light levels during training, to further minimise the installation carbon footprint. LEDs can also be used in combination with DMX control systems to introduce scenic effects (chase, flashes, dimming, etc.) and light shows.

LED products offer the highest quality of light available, with higher colour rendition than metal halide systems, practically matching traditional incandescent light sources. LEDs do not cause flicker and have correlated colour temperature within the preferred range for sport.

LED products also use far less power to operate and have a longer lifespan than other products, therefore they are considered to be more sustainable.

The weight of the floodlighting elements should always be taken into consideration during the design stage to ensure that correct allowances are made by engineering teams.

Figure 5.6.4
Basic luminaire mounting criteria

Environmental impact

Obtrusive lighting, spill, sky glow and glare are all unwanted effects of poorly controlled lighting installations. It is fundamental that at the design stage, the venue is considered within the surrounding environment and that mitigation measures are embedded in the design (see Sub-Section 1.3.7).

Mounting heights, exclusion zones, aiming angles and typical camera locations

A series of diagrams are shown over the following pages to illustrate the geometrical constraints for the position of suitable sport lighting systems for standard events and for venues where television broadcast is required.

These diagrams consider the glare to players and, where applicable, the ideal camera illumination requirements. Figure 5.6.5 provides a summary.

Figure 5.6.5
Lighting system design summary for televised and non-televised events

System criteria

When defining the performance standards for lighting systems, it is important to examine a range of criteria rather than focusing on a single measure such as illuminance (lux). The following criteria are referenced in the FIFA Lighting Guide.

Measurement (or calculation) grid

This is a set of points in space, located at regular intervals on the field of play and at set height (beware that various heights may be set for the measurements in the requirements). All the points on a measurement grid share the same measurement orientation. The orientation of a measure is defined by a plane. For example, the measurement of horizontal illuminance is carried out across the field of play considering at each point the horizontal plane.

Pole-mounted floodlighting

Illuminance (LUX)

Illuminance is a measure of the amount of light landing on a plane at a given point. Horizontal illuminance (Eh) measures the light incident on a horizontal plane, and vertical illuminance (Ev) measures the light incident on a vertical plane. Vertical illuminance is only relevant for venues including television broadcast. For this, it is common to consider four vertical planes at each measurement point, two looking at the opposite penalty areas, and two looking at the long edges of the field of play. In some instances, a measurement towards the main cameras is also required. This is carried out by aiming the lux meter towards the main camera position.

Uniformity U1

Indicates the range of illuminance values and is calculated as the minimum divided by the maximum of all values on a measurement grid.

Uniformity U2

Indicates the distribution of illuminance values and is calculated as the minimum divided by the average of all values on a measurement grid.

Glare rating

Measure of the degree of discomfort produced by the lighting installation. It is dependent on the observer’s position and viewing direction, and is calculated in accordance with document CIE 112-1994, Glare Evaluation System for Use within Outdoor Sports and Area Lighting. It can be measured with high-dynamic-range imaging but it is often derived by calculation and this is often acceptable during commissioning.

Figure 5.6.6
Lighting considerations to avoid glare to the players

Correlated colour temperature

Indicates the colour content of white light, ranging from warm white (3,000K) to cool white (6,000K). For televised events, the CCT is usually within a range of 5,000K-6,000K. Where televised events are not expected, this range can be expanded to warmer lighting.

Colour rendering

Indicates the accuracy of colour replication under a certain light, and the degree to which colour differences can be perceived. LED systems are capable of good colour rendition, which is enough for most events. The higher requirements are typical of television broadcast.


Football is a high-speed sport, and maintaining a uniform illumination across the field of play will enhance broadcast quality. Several methods are used to estimate this metric, all relevant to television requirements. The FIFA Lighting Guide uses the minimum adjacent uniformity ratio (MAUR).

Vertical uniformity

Indicates the ratio of vertical illuminances at any point of the field of play, between the four vertical orthogonal planes facing the four sides of the field of play. This is a broadcast-only requirement.

Spectator illuminance

The spectator stands should be illuminated to safety standard. From a television broadcast perspective, the stands should not be overly illuminated, and it is usually preferred to achieve visual separation between the field of play and the spectator areas by rendering these darker.

Flicker factor

Flicker factor is used to characterise the potential for temporal modulation artefacts of a light installation. The flicker factor considers the instantaneous maximum and minimum values of illuminance at a point and is only relevant for television broadcast. Using LED systems would eradicate the need to consider this aspect. With LED systems, there may be other limitations to the television broadcast performance, and these will be related to the dimming technology used and on the LED refresh and camera sensor readout. This is a specialist broadcast-related element that will need further study if required.

TV cameras in operation under stadium lighting

Reference standards

The following standards should be considered in the development of any lighting system. Where inconsistencies are found, the guidance provided by FIFA should prevail. It is the responsibility of the lighting designer to seek clarifications from with the relevant bodies and ensure that the lighting system is fit for purpose.

• FIFA Lighting Guide 2020
• CIE 067:1986 – Guide for the photometric specification and measurement of sports lighting installations
• CIE 083:2019 – Guide for the lighting of sports events for colour television and film systems
• CIE 112:1994 – Glare evaluation system for use within outdoor sports and area lighting
• CIE 150:2017 – Guide on the limitation of the effects of obtrusive light from outdoor lighting installations
• CIE 154:2003 – The maintenance of outdoor lighting systems
• CIE 169:2005 – Practical design guidelines for the lighting of sport events for colour television and filming
• EN 12193-2018 – Light and lighting – Sports lighting
• IES RP-6-15 – Sports and Recreational Area Lighting
• ILP GN 02:2018 – Guidance Note 2: lighting of televised sporting events
• EBU R 137 – Television Lighting Consistency Index 2012 and Television Luminaire Matching Factor 2013
• Lighting guidelines and regulations of regional and national football associations, and/or leagues


Stadiums should provide sanitary facilities for both men and woman and for disabled people inside the stadium. These amenities should include adequate washing facilities with clean water and a plentiful supply of towels and/or hand dryers. These areas should be bright, clean and hygienic and they should be kept in that condition throughout each matchday.

As there is a range of time that different spectators require to use these facilities, this should be reflected in the calculations of the provision. The growth in the number of women and children attending football games and other stadium events should be reflected in the design. Stadium projects should consider the installation of flexible toilet blocks that can be allocated on demand or quickly converted, along with appropriate changes in signage, depending on the event being hosted.

It is recommended that stadiums provide sanitary fixtures in line with the relevant national codes. As many countries do not have stadium-specific guidance, FIFA recommends a minimum number of toilets and sinks as shown in Figure 5.6.7.

Figure 5.6.7
Recommended provision of sanitary facilities

To avoid overcrowding between spectators entering and leaving sanitary facilities, there should be a one-way access system, or at least doors which are sufficiently wide to permit the division of the passageway into in and out channels.

The ratio of male to female spectators will also influence the number of fixtures that need to be provided. This is a decision for each stadium project to take based on their projected attendance profiles. The ratio of 65% male, 35% female is typical of major international football matches and therefore should be used if no further guidance is available. If events are planned that have a more equal gender attendance (e.g. concerts), this should be taken into consideration. This total provision of 100% of the spectator population will need to be assessed by each stadium as it may not provide enough facilities during the half-time rush and comfort levels may be reduced at these peak times.

Baby-changing facilities, accessible for male and female spectators, should be included within WC blocks or in dedicated, private spaces.

Sanitary facilities should be provided for a range of needs, including at least one accessible cubicle within all large WC blocks along with low-level urinals, WCs and hand basins to cater for those of short stature. Wheelchair-accessible WCs should be provided at a ratio of 1 per 15 wheelchair positions and should offer easy access from the seating position within the bowl. A maximum of 40m from the WC to the access vomitory should be allowed, with all wheelchair accessible facilities provided on the same level as the seating positions they serve.

In addition to these facilities, stadiums should consider the provision of a Changing Places toilet with access from the concourse area where most wheelchair user places are located. This space should be 12m² and will be used as a unisex facility for those who may need multiple companions to assist them.

Family toilets with additional lower-level sinks and toilets could provide confidence that people of short stature or young children will be safe when using toilet facilities.

Figure 5.6.8
Typical layouts of male and female WCs


Water use is a critical issue for all stadiums and impacts a wide number of design and operational aspects. The stadium design and operating strategy should aim to reduce the use of potable water (see Sub-Section 2.7.1).

Water used in the operation of stadiums will vary significantly depending on the geographic location, the time of year and the scale of match being hosted. Consideration should be given as to how event overlay can be built into the base design of the facility to ensure that efficiency and water reduction strategies can be extended into those foreseen peak events (see Sub-Section 2.9.3).

The need for pitch irrigation, particularly on matchdays (see Section 2.4), will result in large demand for water during short periods of time, such as at half-time. This variability of water demand, from relatively low levels when the stadium is not being used for events, to large peaks in demand when fully occupied with spectators, will be significant. The impact of this on the water supply, sewerage and treatment energy networks should not be underestimated.

Maracanã Stadium, Rio de Janeiro
Some of the water that falls on the roof is collected and drained by 60 concrete troughs into a suction vacuum. It then goes into two underground filtered tanks for treatment and non-potable use in bathrooms.

Stadium projects provide opportunities to show how water management can be at the forefront of development through efficiency and sourcing water differently.

The basic strategy for managing water across the stadium site should follow the established hierarchy:

• Reduce demand for all water – efficient measures
• Supply water from local sources – identify and quantify alternatives to potable supply
• Match non-potable supply to non-potable usage
• Metering and user awareness-raising
• Consider additional demand management measures
• Discharge processes – consider impacts on infrastructure and scope for re-use/recycling

Achieving low water usage in a stadium relies on the understanding and willingness of the stadium spectators, the stadium maintenance team and the stadium staff. Positive messaging around the water conservation goals of the project can help achieve this. Clear guidance for the stadium maintenance team will ensure they clean and maintain the building as intended. This is particularly important for the success of innovations like waterless urinals.

Water reuse, particularly by harvesting rainwater, is a key strategy that should be considered in the development of all new stadiums. Storage of rainwater in tanks within the stadium or immediately outside should allow site-wide irrigation of trees and grass. Inside the stadium, filtered and treated harvested rainwater can be used for laundry services, sanitary fitting flushing and any internal or pitch irrigation. By harvesting rainwater and using it efficiently on the site, the amount of water discharge from the stadium masterplan should be kept to a minimum.

After the water that is potentially required for the pitch, back-of-house water consumption is dominated by kitchens, particularly in stadiums that prepare food in permanent kitchens. Therefore, the design and operations teams should look to minimise water used for this purpose, particularly on matchdays.

One of the biggest uses of water in stadiums is for sanitary facilities to serve a large crowd. To address this, it is recommended that water-saving fittings be installed. Such fittings include WCs with limited flush capacities, taps with minimised flow rates and waterless urinals. Stadiums often have multiple WC blocks, and each one should be sub-metered so that excessive usage, often indicating a leak, can be quickly detected.

Free access to drinking water should be provided to spectators and staff throughout the stadium. This is commonly delivered through drinking fountains and bottle “fill-up” stations in the concourses. These should be fully accessible and placed in locations so that any queues that form to use them do not impact on circulation within the concourse.


Lifts and escalators should be located in areas where they can serve their intended constituent groups most efficiently. Front-of-house lifts are typically utilised for premium spectators in hospitality areas and grouped by the entrances to these spaces. It is unusual to move large volumes of spectators by lift. The use of lifts should be prioritised for those who need them, including disabled spectators and spectators with limited mobility.

Escalators are a common method of moving many spectators in bigger stadiums, particularly those with large upper tiers. These should be supported with adjacent stairways to allow the escalators to operate in the major direction of spectator flow (ingress or egress) without preventing people moving in the opposite direction.

Figure 5.6.9
Typical lift and escalator locations

Lifts should be sized to accommodate their expected maximum loads and to ensure that the ingress and egress of spectators is possible without extending waiting times unacceptably. Consideration should also be given to accommodating lifts that can be utilised for medical emergencies, as this impacts the size of the lift car because a dimension of 2.7m is needed for stretchers to move with medical staff.

VIP and hospitality lifts should be provided with a similar level of finish as the entrances and lounge areas. General spectator lifts should be more robust and should be able to operate as lightweight service lifts on non-matchdays. Should there be dedicated media lifts, these should typically be of a similar grade to those for hospitality guests.

Back-of-house service lifts should be provided to enable all servicing vehicles and supplies to be moved through the building without impacting matchday operations. The size of these lifts will depend on the operational strategy of the stadium, but it should be noted that these can be very large and therefore need to be considered in the early design stages.

Food and beverage deliveries can utilise the service lifts. Therefore, it is vital to ensure that lifts are an integral part of the relevant operational procedures and manuals. These should incorporate any relevant local regulations and pay attention to the potential need to separate routes used for the transportation of waste.



Stadiums should provide a central location to store waste prior to it being collected and transferred off-site. This should facilitate the consolidation of waste streams collected during matches and typically the sorting of recyclable materials. This compound will also serve back-of-house areas, primarily the kitchens, and therefore access from these areas should be considered.

The waste compound should be located at street level and have sufficient clear height to provide access for waste-collection vehicles.

Additional space may need to be provided to cater for hazardous waste such as pressurised canisters or waste that has higher flammability. Consideration should also be given to the ventilation, heating or cooling of this space, as required.

Waste management is explained in Sub-Section 4.2.6.


The provision of kitchens in a stadium will depend on the scale and intended use of the stadium. Key factors include the scale of any hospitality provision and the catering strategy.

Stadium commercial kitchen

For larger stadiums, it is common to include large central kitchens in the back-of-house spaces that are linked to horizontal and vertical circulation routes for the delivery of catering supplies to locations throughout the stadium. The main kitchen should be in the stand that has the largest demand for catering services in order to reduce the travel distances for food once it has been prepared.

For smaller stadiums, it may be possible to prepare food off-site and deliver it to the stadium on matchdays.

In all cases, the provision of finishing kitchens adjacent to hospitality spaces and skyboxes to plate food and control service should be considered.

Support spaces should be provided to allow for the delivery and storage of all catering supplies needed for matchday peak loads. These facilities should include dedicated delivery spaces, dry storerooms and spaces to store both chilled and frozen goods. These should all be located on the peripheries of the main kitchen space to reduce travel distances.

As kitchens are typically located at ground-floor level under the seating bowl, the need for ventilation, extraction systems and climate control should be identified at an early stage as it will impact the planning of upper floors and the location of vertical circulation routes.

Scullery facilities should be provided for the collection, cleaning, drying and storage of crockery, cutlery and other washable kitchen equipment and utensils.