Ecuador adopts strong security measures in football stadiums

As of 2019, the Ecuador football championship will be managed by Liga Pro, which consists of 16 first division clubs and 10 second B clubs, with the aim of guaranteeing safe scenarios for all those who attend matches.

Among the different aspects being reviewed by the Liga Pro, the Ecuador Football Federation(FEF), The Quito Superior Technology Institute(ISTFQ) and lawyers linked to the world of sport, are that of spreading the idea of a peaceful culture between the fans of different teams, improving infrastructures and applying laws in accordance with the crime or offence committed.

One of the first security prerequisites that they aim to abide by is that the rule of sports security states that stadiums must have the minimum norms demanded by FIFA as an obligation, obviously with the perspective of continuous improvement. For example:

  • Stadiums must have emergency doors to enter the grounds placed strategically and being wider than 1 metre, 20 centimetres.
  • If there is no pit separating the terraces from the pitch, ramps will be placed at the emergency doors leading to the pitch.
  • The stadium exit doors and all the spectator areas will open outwards. It will be impossible to lock them while there is a match.
  • The stadium will have an ambulance and first aid area in case medical assistance is required.
  • Football series A stadiums will have an exterior surrounding perimeter barrier where the first security control of the public will take place with an individual search when necessary.
  • The second control will carried out at the stadium entrance.

The organism that regulates professional football in Ecuador has already inspected 13 stadiums where the top-level tournament will take place and, reviewing the results, it helped to improve the rules of the procedure. It was done in this way because the clubs’ lack of infrastructure is one of the big constraints for security regulations.

One of the points of the area of security regulations that the FEF stresses, regarding venues where this sports is practised, is that the stadium must be a safe place for all users, for spectators, those involved in the match, officials, media representatives, workers and others, including different elements of civil security.

As far as the sport’s judiciary is concerned, a critical position is maintained regarding these measures. It is considered that, rather than applying more rigorous norms inside stadiums, those that are already established should be applied and that, moreover, awareness raising activities about proper behaviour at a sports event should be carried out. This way, the fan will be aware of the risk involved if he commits a criminal act and that he can be sanctioned with already existing laws.

Furthermore, there are those who consider that more security would not be necessary in stadiums to prevent violence, as this should involve beginning to change the culture and the idea of why people go to football stadiums. This way, the preventive character of the statutes and regulations must specify parameters to prevent conflict at a sports event. Within this framework, it is believed to be important that a football match must take place within the framework of an atmosphere of safety, friendship, family and collaboration, making it pleasant for fans and without generating unrest when people attend a sports event.

Meanwhile, the ISTFQ wanted to make its contribution with the defence of safety in football stadiums, promoting the diploma in Physical Safety at Sports Events, in order to train people in terms of sports-related safety.

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