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The Football Licensing Authority (FLA) is an independent public body set up under the Football Spectators Act 1989 and funded by the Department for Culture, Media and Sport.

The mission statement of the Football Licensing Authority is to ensure that all spectators regardless of age, gender, ethnic origin, disability, or the team that they support are able to attend sports grounds in safety, comfort and security.

The Football Licensing Authority was originally conceived as the body that would implement the Football Membership Scheme in response to the disaster at the Heysel Stadium in 1985. However, the Government shelved this in the light of Lord Justice Taylor's Final Report on the Hillsborough Stadium Disaster of April 1989.

Instead it was eventually charged with implementing some of the Report's key recommendations by:

   * monitoring local authorities' oversight of spectator safety at international, Premiership and Football League grounds;
   * and ensuring through a system of licensing that these grounds became all seated.

In 1992 the Government of the United Kingdom decided to allow clubs in the Football League Second and Third Divisions to retain some standing accommodation, provided that this satisfied certain criteria. The Football Licensing Authority enforce this through their licencing scheme.


Key Objectives


The Football Licensing Authority have agreed following key objectives with the United Kingdom Government:

   * To ensure by means of guidance, assistance and monitoring that the local authorities perform their functions to a consistent
and acceptable standard; and, in the long term, to give these authorities the opportunity to reduce their level of involvement
as clubs take greater responsibility for safety. * To maintain and build on the achievements of the government’s policies on spectator accommodation. * To bring about, through advice and persuasion, a permanent change of culture whereby consistently high standards of safety are
maintained at every Premiership, Football League and international football ground by the clubs or ground management taking
responsibility on their own initiative rather than in response to requirements imposed by other bodies.
   * To maintain and enhance its position as the leading authority on ground safety and standards both at home and overseas and as the
prime source of advice and assistance to the government, local authorities, clubs an other bodies.


Wider Role


In December 1998, following a major review, the Government of the United kIngdom announced that the Football Licensing Authority would in due course become the Sports Ground Safety Authority. It presented legislation to this effect to Parliament but the 2001 General Election intervened. Ministers are committed to reintroducing it when they can find a place in the Parliamentary timetable.

Although the formal role of the Football Licensing Authority is limited to professional football grounds, they do respond to requests for general advice and information in relation to other sporting venues – where the issues and needs are often the same.

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