This excursus is in the form of a presentation made by Norman Jacobs, OBE, Chairman of
the Football Licensing Authority, at the second seminar on 4 December 1995, which further discussed the report Temporary demountable structures, published by the Institution in October 1995.
In my time, I have been, with varying degrees of success, a railway station porter, a street market trader, a soldier and a lawyer, but I have never been any sort of an engineer. Indeed, I rather suspect that I came by my invitation to participate here today not because of my past careers but more because of my present job as Chairman of the Football Licensing Authority, a body stemming from Lord Justice Taylor’s Report following the Hillsborough disaster in 1989. That report, with its 76 recommendations, is transforming the stadia where football is played and thereby the very face of our national game. Put in the context of what we are about today, I would suggest that those recommendations comprise a compendium of safety guidance which, within its immediate context and probably far beyond, will stand out as a reference point and safety landmark for years to come. Unfortunately, the trigger for that guidance was a disaster which claimed 96 lives, whilst the guidance document at the root of today’s seminar was prompted by the collapse, in 1992, of a demountable structure in Bastia, Corsica, causing 17 deaths and over 2000 injuries, followed in 1994 by the failure of another such structure at a pop concert at Earls Court involving 1100 spectators. All these cases highlighted the need for guidance.