FA goalpost safety campaign gains momentum
By Alex Stone
In the next month The FA hopes to ratify a new £1million funding programme that could support its four-year-old Goalpost Safety campaign, replacing unsafe goalposts that have been responsible for causing the deaths of dozens of children across the world.
The plans made front page news in The Times on Saturday and The FA's National Facilities Manager Steve Williams appeared on the BBC's evening news at 10.40pm on Saturday evening.
The FA has sent more than a million leaflets to schools and sports clubs warning them that home-made posts should not be used as they "have been the cause of a number of deaths and injuries". Children have been killed and thousands more injured by unsecured goalposts in Britain. More than twenty children have been killed in America by falling posts and crossbars, and others have died in Australia, Ireland and Malta in the past twelve months.
The British Standards Institution has warned goalpost manufacturers that if their goals do not pass strict tests of strength and stability then they will not be able to display its BSI logo. It is hoped that the threat, backed by The FA and the Department of Culture, Media and Sport, will lead to companies improving their equipment.
Brenda Smith, whose son, Jonathan, died aged eleven in 1991 when a goal fell on him, has been a leading campaigner to ensure that portable posts are made secure. Mrs Smith said: "My constant concern is that the 'man down the street' will continue to make home-made goalposts and take no notice of the safety guidelines. "I would urge all parents to check goalposts before their child plays, to make sure they are safe and secure and to prevent any further needless accidents."
Goals are often freestanding and there is no legal obligation to secure them to the ground, so when children swing on them they come crashing down. Research conducted by The FA found that 42 per cent of mini-soccer goals, 50 per cent of five-a-side goals and 22 per cent of junior goals failed stability tests. A set of full-size metal posts blew over during an under-12s game this year at a professional football club.
If you would like a copy of The FA's Goalpost Safety leaflet, please send your full name and address, along with the quantity of leaflets you require to Emma.Clark@TheFA.com
More information on the campaign can be viewed on www.thefa.com website, however we have reproduced below some relative information from theFootball should be fun, safe and enjoyable, whether you play in a park, at school or for a local club. The FA has produced Guidance notes and Technical notes and is re-launching this important campaign that sets the standards in Goalpost Safety.
Tragically, several children in England have been killed as a result of falling goalposts since 1991.
During the 2001/02 season, The Football Association carried out a programme of on site inspection and testing of goalpost sets at a number of sites across the country. Some of the findings are as follows:
- Of all goals tested, 41% of mini-soccer goals, 50% of 5-a-side goals and 22% of junior goals failed stability tests. These types of goals are almost all of a portable type and reliant upon secure means of 'holding down', either using anchors or weights.
- Anchor weights are rarely used properly or to the recommended loading.
- Ground conditions can affect the stability of goals therefore it is important to liase with manufacturers on the appropriate ground fixings in relation to weather conditions
- Users at every 2nd site were unaware of the safety campaign involving goalposts. Through extending this campaign to the third year - with 250,000 leaflets going out to Clubs, Schools, youth groups, referees, coaches and leisure facilities across the country from the beginning of November 2002 - The FA is committed to raising this awareness and aims to create a safer environment for all football.
- Only 51% of users were unaware of how goalposts should be assembled correctly
- Only 50% of goals inspected and tested had any means of identification and many are pre - PAS or BS/CEN standards
Key Areas of FA Concern:
- The stability of goalposts
- Wooden Goals
- 5-a-side or goals on artificial pitches - not properly weighted
- Mini soccer goals - not erected properly
- Metal cup hooks - dangers of cuts, gouging
- Modifying of existing goals and DIY changes or welding of equipment
When buying goalposts for your club/school/Local Authority, ask manufacturers if the goals comply with The FA Technical Parameters & Guidance Notes.
To access The FA's Technical and Guidance notes, click on either of the two headings below:-