Grenfell Tower: Football clubs asked to check external cladding after fire

Amex Stadium
Brighton say their Amex Stadium is "entirely safe"

Premier League and Football League clubs have been asked to check on any external cladding on their stadiums following the Grenfell Tower fire.

Cladding on the tower in London is thought to have contributed to the spread of the fire that killed at least 80 people earlier this month.

The Sports Ground Safety Authority (SGSA) has also written to Wembley Stadium and the Principality Stadium.

Brighton have begun checks but said the Amex Stadium is "entirely" safe.

"We are now taking the added precaution of working with our contractor and suppliers to re-check all of the materials used during construction, both at the Amex and at our training ground," said Brighton director Martin Perry.

The Amex opened in 2011, while the training ground was opened in 2014.

"We are fully satisfied the Amex is entirely safe and that the materials and building practices used during the construction of the stadium, and our training ground, are of the highest standards," added Perry.

A spokesman for Sunderland, who have played at the Stadium of Light for 20 years, said: "Naturally there is a high level of vigilance in relation to fire safety on both matchdays and non-matchdays. This includes fire detection and suppression systems, which are fitted throughout the stadium, CCTV detection cameras and a dedicated team of specialised fire stewards who work on match days to ensure the stadium is a safe environment for all.

"There is an annual fire safety inspection, which forms part of our safety certificate requirements, and this has given us a clean bill of health every year since the stadium opened in 1997."

Cladding installed on Grenfell Tower in a recent renovation has come under scrutiny, with experts saying a more fire-resistant type could have been used.

That has led Prime Minister Theresa May to say there should be a "major national investigation" into the use of cladding on high-rise towers.

The SGSA monitors safety conditions at Premier League and Football League grounds, as well as Wembley in London and Cardiff's Principality Stadium.

"Sports grounds generally contain no sleeping risk, benefit from high levels of vigilance when in use and are often fitted with active and passive fire detection systems to help mitigate any fire risk," it said.

But its statement added: "This does not suggest that there is no risk but these measures significantly mitigate the risk."

SGSA chief inspector Ken Scott added: "As a precaution we are writing to sports grounds to advise them to check any cladding and review their fire risk assessments if necessary.

"We don't want to cause alarm or add additional burden to sports grounds, but it is important that sports ground management are being proactive and are never complacent about people's safety."

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