A Romanian professional football club was ordered to play its next six home matches without any spectators after a match in which one player was king hit by a spectator and another was burned by a flare thrown onto the field. The Romanian Football Federation also fined FC Petrolul Ploiesti for their poor handling of the match against FC Steaua Bucharest on November 1.

The Incidents

A spectator, Dragos Petrut Enache, ran onto the field and, according to prosecutors, hit a Bucharest defender - George Galamaz - in the head with a hard object, breaking his cheekbone and sidelining him for about six weeks. Following the attack, a number of Bucharest players ran after the attacker, and started to beat him.

The referee temporarily stopped the match, however Petrolul Ploiesti fans then began throwing flares onto the field, one of which struck another player, Ciprian Tatarusanu, who suffered severe burns. The match was then abandoned.

Crowd Safety Profiling

This incident demonstrates the necessity of crowd safety profiling for an event or venue as part of the event’s overall risk assessment. Crowd safety profiling involves identifying the general type of spectator anticipated to be at your event and provides important context when anticipating the type of behavior and risks that might occur. Factors to be considered might include:

  • The teams involved and their history
  • The likely crowd demographic, its size and their propensity for anti-social behaviour
  • Suitability of the venue to monitor, segregate or remove troublesome spectators
  • The likely weather conditions of the day
  • Historical data on alcohol consumption

By analysing the factors likely to affect crowd behaviour, the appropriate type and levels of controls could be implemented. In a football match, additional control measures might include:

  • Higher levels of visible crowd security
  • High vigilance for prohibited or restricted items and conducting of bag checks
  • Intelligence monitoring of communication by local police of social media conversations
  • Segregation of rival spectators within stands through ticket seating allocation
  • Erecting various physical barriers around the of play perimeter to prevent access to players
  • Limiting alcohol purchases and consumption
  • In-venue CCTV crowd monitoring and public address

These strategies offer just some of the many strategies that are available to event and venue manages to handle crowd safety-related risk.