The activity of stewarding – and the resulting profession of steward – was introduced into Italian legislation thanks to the Osservatorio Nazionale sulle Manifestazioni Sportive (the Italian National Sports Events Monitoring Centre). Stewarding is one of the fundamental pillars for today’s stadium security strategies. Many years of experience with stewarding have demonstrated the success of the policy of “demilitarising” sports grounds. This has been done by following an internationally shared methodological approach whereby the event organisers are made responsible for security at the sports ground.

Stewarding services are required for matches held in stadiums with a capacity of more than 7500 spectators, or lower-capacity grounds holding matches organised by Lega B or Lega Pro, in which case a GOS (Gruppo Operativo di Sicurezza – Operative Security Group) must be set up. The coordinator of the GOS is a Public Security Official indicated by the Chief of Police.
Stewarding activities are scheduled by the Security Delegate in the Operational Security Plan (POS), which must be approved by the GOS at least three days prior to the match.

The minimum number of stewards must take into account the ratio of 1/250 spectators, in relation to the certified capacity of the stadium, and in any case must be no less than the number specified and approved in the POS. Depending on the risk profiles of the match and the structural conditions of the stadium, a stewarding service may be implemented in order to guarantee the spectators’ safety.

When in service, the stewards wear a yellow or orange tunic. The steward is the spectator’s primary interlocutor and point of contact in any situation. For this reason, it is necessary to adopt a common code of conduct. This means, among other things, maintaining a courteous, helpful attitude, avoiding intimidating language or gestures, and being always focused on one’s duties and responsibilities.

The stewards’ activities are set forth in detail by the ministerial decree, and include:

  • Stadium preparation (pre-emptive inspection of the stadium to check the stability of mobile structures, remove any illicit or prohibited items, check the fire safety systems and safety exits, check the presence of information signage).
  • Pre-filtering – pre-emptive checks (checks on entry points, checks that spectators have correct tickets and comparisons with ID cards, checks on the suitability of any terrace celebration materials, welcome and information service for spectators, checks and confiscation of any illegal items or instruments being brought in)
  • Filtering – greeting spectators (monitoring entry gates, crowd control, assisting spectators when digitally checking tickets, assistance to disabled spectators at specific gates, guiding spectators to their seating sectors, checks and confiscation of any illegal items or instruments being brought in)
  • Checking spectators with the pat-down system (brief search of bags, body searches including the use of portable metal detectors)
  • Specific services to prevent illegal activities (enforcement of regulations, supervision of spaces and perimeter of the security areas of the stadium, observation and supervision of spectators, supervision and control of gates, delimitation of playing field, active involvement in public safety and emergency procedures, informing police officers of miscellaneous information when necessary)