So, unless you’ve been living in a bubble you will know that the FIFA World Cup starts next week.
Today we’re talking about what venues can be doing to limit vulnerability whilst preparing to make the most of the worldwide excitement.
These football matches will be televised on free-to-air channels. This means that as a venue you can show live matches without paying for the commercial subscription. For many of you this is a great business opportunity, however, if you aren’t used to showing live sports and managing volatile crowds of people this could also make your staff and customers vulnerable.
Here are our top tips for venues:
- Before you start advertising that your pub/ bar will be screening live matches, make sure that you refresh your understanding of your legal responsibilities as a licensed operator. The good news, according to a recent article by Suraj Desor from Poppleston Allen, is “the showing of live televised sporting events does not require specific permission for ‘showing films’ on your premises licence, and therefore if you do not have this permission, you can still show the live football (just make sure the appropriate TV licence/subscription licences are in place)”. However, if you want to open later than your license currently allows you will need to apply for a TEN (Temporary Event Notice). Check your premises licence to ensure that you won’t breach it with any of your planned activities. The last thing you want is the police or council licensing teams shutting you down mid-England game!
- Make sure you have carried out a venue risk assessment and addressed any of the high or medium risks, involve your staff in creating it and checking it to make sure that you have covered all angles, and everyone is bought in to the plan.
- Fights and disagreements can often break out over long bar queues. Consider taking on extra staff and think about when the most high pressured times will be – such as just before a match, half time and just after a match, and make sure you are staffed appropriately and your staff have been fully briefed as to what to do if tensions run high. Consider setting up a separate bottle bar selling both alcoholic and non-alcoholic bottles and cans out of a portable fridge.
- It’s difficult to get around a large crowd of people and often people buy in bulk to avoid having to come back to the bar during a match. Consider using polycarbonates to avoid glass-related incidents and ensure you have a good supply of adequately sized glasses or polycarbonates. Ask your supplier if they can lend you some or you may get a deal on glasses or polycarbonates if you stock a particular brand.
- Employ a floor walker or someone to check on the mood of the crowd, vulnerable people, pinch points and anyone blocking escape routes. Make sure that they are briefed and know what to do should they encounter sexual harassment, aggression, domestic violence, vulnerable or intoxicated persons, or if they suspect drugs are being used.
- Consider taking on additional security staff to work inside and outside your venue, ensure that they are familiar with your policies and procedures, including your door policy. Set a limit for the number of people in your venue and give your door staff footfall counters. For an event like the World Cup it may be tempting fill to maximum capacity, however, for crowd management purposes it will give a better experience all round if you set the cap 10% below that, and instead focus on upselling.
- Gather your staff and run refresher training on policies and procedures such as vulnerability management, drugs, Ask for Angela or similar sexual abuse prevention initiatives, underage sales, crime scene preservation, how to operate the CCTV and first aid.
- Be aware that you may attract a new crowd to watch the matches, or your regulars may be staying in your pub for longer than usual. If you spot anyone becoming drunk, disorderly or vulnerable then address it early on. Consider serving easy food to counteract the alcohol and offer tap water and a variety of soft drinks, particularly to anyone you think may be becoming intoxicated. A nice idea is to place self-serve drink dispensers with water and slices of fruit around your premises to allow people to help themselves to delicious flavoured water to rehydrate themselves without the need to queue at the bar.
- Contact your local Street Pastor or Street Angels group and ask if they would consider visiting your premises just after the match to escort vulnerable people home. If you are doing this don’t forget to thank them, offer a charitable contribution or give them a free meal or something to say thank you.
- To keep your neighbours happy, invite them along. A personal invitation and a reserved table with good viewing is an effective way to make friends and avoid noise complaints.
- Make sure you have a queue and dispersal policy for the start and end of the match. If people are queuing to get in, consider distributing free nibbles or giveaways such as an England flag or a raffle ticket to win something in the queue. It doesn’t cost much and has an amazing ability to start the night on a positive note. Football fans can create a lot of noise and be in high spirits when leaving your premises too, so consider giving away simple lollipops or ice cream as people leave, to keep them occupied. It doesn’t cost much but has a miraculous ability to silence and distract even the loudest and rowdiest as they try and work out a lollipop wrapper after a few pints!
If you are showing the FIFA World Cup in your venue, we hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable time. If you would like some help to plan a safe World Cup experience at your venue, please do get in touch as we’d be delighted to help.