NAIROBI, Kenya, November 19- The Kenyan Premier League (KPL) has announced the formation of a joint Technical Team on Stadia Safety and Security for all its matches.
According to KPL Chief Executive Jack Oguda, KPL together with G4S Security Services Kenya Limited have already formed a working committee with nominees from stadia owners, police and clubs.
“The game of football has recovered a great deal of ground in the last few years and as we grow the sport into a national professional outfit perhaps it is time we put in the structures needed to oversee this transition,” said Oguda.
The team he said will oversee an intended audit of all public stadia. The partnership will set out in general terms on what needs to be done immediately before the next season begins to improve security measures at stadiums and consider the challenges that still lie ahead.
Oguda spoke at the Nyayo National Stadium during a joint media briefing with G4S, to introduce a minimum code on stadium security would bring a welcome change in the advancement of soccer locally.
His sentiments come in the wake of a stampede in October 23, 2010 during a highly-charged KPL fixture between Gor Mahia and arch-rivals AFC Leopards at the Nyayo National Stadium where five fans died and a score injured.
The joint initiative will see Jim McDonald, who is the Operations Director of G4S Events in the United Kingdom accompanied with the working committee, visit key sports arenas over the next eight days after which he will issue an event security proposal on the state of stadia in Kenya.
McDonald will be starting with the Nyayo National Stadium on Friday afternoon. On Monday November 22 he is due for meetings at the Ministry of Sports and also an audit of the Kasarani Sports Centre with the Sports Stadia Management Board officials.
On Tuesday McDonald heads to Mombasa for an audit of the Mombasa City Stadium. On Wednesday he will be at the Hope Centre grounds and the City stadium in Nairobi and is also expected to grace the annual KPL Awards on Wednesday November 24 at the Safari Park Hotel.
John Wheater the G4S Kenya Managing Director explained the firm was committed to assisting the KPL in bringing the game of football to international standards and which he said starts with the security of the fans.
“At G4S we have over 25 years of high profile event security and management spanning pre-event Risk, Health and Safety Analysis, Disaster Management, Planning and Execution, Event security Staffing and even match ticketing solutions and which as you know we have executed many times on behalf of the KPL”, said, Wheater.
In the UK, G4S that is the largest security group in the world provides match day security for numerous top flight clubs with attendances of up to 52,000. G4S also secures high profile events such as the Wimbledon Tennis Championships and Superstar concerts at the O2 Arena.
The firm now hopes to provide thought leadership in reviewing stadiums used for KPL games and providing a safety assessment and action plan going forward as the country anticipates the start of the KPL 2011 Season.