More than a landmark: new Shah Alam Stadium promises world-class security

More than a landmark: new Shah Alam Stadium promises world-class security

Reconstruction includes next-level security features to meet AFC, FIFA standards

KUALA LUMPUR – It was one of the deadliest sporting disasters in recent history. The tragedy at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia on October 1 claimed the lives of 131 people, including 40 children. The fatalities followed riots between football supporters and police that raised questions about non-existent security measures at the stadium.

Among them were overcrowding and pitch invasion.

The incident erupted at the end of the Indonesian League One (Liga 1) game between arch-rivals Arema FC and Persebaya Surabaya FC after the former lost 2-3, which saw thousands of supporters storm the field to express their frustration.

Witness accounts and video footage lay blame on police for excessive use of force that included beatings and shooting tear gas, which exacerbated the already tense situation.

Many had suffocated and were trampled on while trying to escape tear gas fumes.

Kuala Lumpur Football Association president Khalid Abdul Samad said stadium management have their work cut out for them in learning lessons from the Kanjuruhan tragedy.

The tragedy that occurred in the neighbouring country should be a lesson, he said, and Malaysian stadium management should not take security measures lightly. Instead, priority should be given to spectator safety, which may not have been emphasised before.

The deaths at Kanjuruhan Stadium, Malang, Indonesia on October 1 of 131 people, including 40 children, follow riots between football supporters and police that raise questions about non-existent security measures at the stadium. – AFP pic, October 10, 2022

Taking security measures to the next level

The new Shah Alam Stadium can be a benchmark in addressing spectator safety, Darul Ehsan Facilities Management chief executive officer Mohd Fahmi Mohd Nordin said.

The redevelopment project aims to tackle the safety, fire contingencies, and crowd dispersal issues the present stadium currently faces.

“Undoubtedly, we have been giving emphasis (to security issues). There was a specified ratio between marshals and spectators present in a stadium at a given time, which needs to be right.

As for the football rules applied in this country, we follow the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) standards and International Football Federation (FIFA) rules for security measures, namely crowd control,” Fahmi told The Vibes’ sister portal, Getaran.

Fahmi said the security aspect of the project would include the space between the football pitch and the spectators’ sitting area, as well as the space between the home supporters and the visiting team.

He added that the specifications set by AFC and FIFA as football’s highest governing body in Asia and the world have greatly influenced the design of the new proposed stadium itself.

“Indirectly, the construction of the stadium aims to (meet) the security (standards) set by the football body,” Fahmi said.

Fahmi added that other specifications drawn up by the governing bodies also cover the assembly area, public exit routes, and the type of chairs, as well as the enforcement of prohibited items brought in past the stadium gates.

In the meantime, he added, certain technologies are used by other countries to tackle security issues that may arise at the stadium.

For example, you may notice that some international stadiums use facial recognition technology to ensure those banned from entering stadiums are screened using a closed-circuit camera system.

“After that, (there is) the construction of a turnstile entrance and the issue of selling fake tickets. These two greatly affect security, and if you look at some of the final matches, (these caused) the original seating capacity to be exceeded.”

Fahmi added that the ticketing system would also need to ensure whether the spectators in the stadium possess valid tickets.

With that, an effective ticketing system must be equipped with the latest technology, as opposed to using marshals or ticketing assistants to check tickets, considering humans make mistakes.

Fahmi also noted that e-ticketing for large events using smartphones to scan barcodes or QR codes could help verify genuine or fake tickets and could eventually function as an important gatekeeper to prevent overcrowding.

“When you employ a human, for example, sometimes he could let some friends in, or accept bribes to allow people (without tickets) into the stadium.

“The latest technology and a more comprehensive ticketing system could prevent illegal entry,” he said.

The existing Shah Alam Stadium is said to lack safety aspects, but on the contrary, Fahmi said, it was state-of-the-art infrastructure when it was built in 1990.

The rules for stadium (management) change from time to time, and it has become quite challenging for a stadium as big as Shah Alam Stadium to keep abreast with updates, compared to other smaller ones.”

After it was built, the existing Shah Alam Stadium, which was opened in July 1994, was deemed to have met security standards and several international matches were organised safely as proof.

The structure also incorporated an assembly area equipped with four large open-space ramps and evacuation facilities with stairs and sufficient exits.

“The current stadium has no issues with crowd exits, except (with the acquisition of) the fire certificate, which is due to new regulations by the Fire Department.

“Firefighting equipment in Malaysia are costly to maintain. Hence, many stadiums in the country face problems when renewing their fire certificates periodically, as specifications change based on new findings, studies, or specifications set by the Fire Department,” Fahmi added.

No compromise on security measures

Meanwhile, Selangor FC chief executive officer Johan Kamal Hamidon reiterated that security aspects will not be compromised at the new Shah Alam Stadium.

This is because any public event, including football matches, will draw thousands of people “under one roof”, he said, adding that the stadium’s redevelopment is timely and relevant.

“We are excited about the planning of this stadium, and we feel that it is only appropriate, relevant, and is not out of touch (with current standards), not just for football fans but the people of Selangor as a whole.

“Everyone will benefit from the advanced facilities,” he said.

source – The Vibes

Share This


Wordpress (0)
Disqus (0 )