City Ground capacity reduced, but Forest friendly goes ahead

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Nottingham Forest have had the capacity of the City Ground reduced by Nottinghamshire County Council – but Saturday’s pre-season friendly with Hull City will go ahead.

The council had initially reduced the ground’s capacity to zero when the club was unable to confirm the availability of a safety certificate holder, which is a legal requirement.

However, Forest’s safety certificate has now been approved after a review, though at a reduced capacity of 24,357, 80 percent of last season’s capacity, as the council say they still have ‘a number of concerns’ over the situation with the appointment of a safety certificate holder.

Robert Fisher, group manager for emergency planning and registration at the council, said: “Our priority is to ensure the safety of spectators at Nottinghamshire sports grounds and we have worked very successfully with local clubs over many years to maintain this.

“We are pleased that Nottingham Forest has now put forward a suitable person to take on the crucial role of safety certificate holder.

“Alan Bexon has previously held the post and is a highly competent and experienced sports ground safety officer.

“However, the Council and our Safety Advisory Group partners need to be confident that the club is fully supporting the certificate holder to fulfil their role, and unfortunately a number of concerns remain.

“For example, we require evidence to demonstrate that safety matters are discussed in senior management meetings at the club.

“We also await an action plan for improvements to the facilities for visiting disabled spectators and an up-to-date written safety policy outlining roles at the club.

“As a consequence of this, a restriction on spectator capacity is required until these issues are resolved.

“The council is continuing to work closely with the club to see that an appropriate action plan is carried out to address remaining issues, so we are able to restore the club’s previous full capacity status over the coming weeks.”

A Forest spokesman said: “Nottingham Forest can confirm that its spectator capacity has been increased from nil to 24,357 (80 percent of last season’s capacity) following a safety review by Nottinghamshire County Council.

“The club will continue to work in partnership with the council in order to address the outstanding issues to ensure that the safety factor is restored to full capacity as quickly as possible.”