Security by Karim Houari

By July 10, 2014

Karim Houari is the Stadium Manager of 'Stade de la Route de Lorient', home of French League 1 club Stade Rennais FC. Next to this he is also responsible for security management at the club. We talked to him to hear more about his tasks and projects at Stade Rennais and how the current situation in France is.

Key facts


 Stade de la Route de Lorient               


 Rennes, France


 Stade Rennais
























Could you introduce yourself?

As Stadium Manager of Stade Rennais FC I manage different services: public management, no match day management, operation, (building maintenance & grounds care), organization and entertainment and safety of people. I have a master degree in business law, a MBA of Management, a Master degree in safety and I have a diploma of Stadium manager.

Can you describe a perfect ‘day at the office’ on a matchday when it comes to safety?

I have a variety of different meetings for the organization of the game about safety and amongst those meetings I meet with all the managers.  My job is to define safety measurements that are applicable to each game according to their categorization: is this a classic game or a risky game? I also have to establish different statements or  preparation notes of each game. 

There are also safety meetings with a representative of the police, a representative of the prefecture, someone of general information, a person of the fire brigade and some emergency workers. I negotiate with the prefecture on the Convention on  law enforcement officers that are locked in the stadium during the game. Of course I have a discussion with my colleague of the away team, we exchange information about the safety of his team and of the away fans. And of course I discuss a lot with policemen and general information workers.

Then I go through accreditations management and on match day I manage all the staff: stewards, safety agents who work on palpation or who supervise risky visitors.  The relationship with the representative of LFP (French Football League) is very important. And finally I manage the monitoring of videos in the security room. That is in a nutshell how we prepare a game when it comes to safety.  


How many stewards do you have and how is your staff organized?

For a classic game we have 340 stewards for hosting and directing people. According to the categorization of the game 70 to 100 safety agents have to supervise access controls and watch risky fans. We also have 30 emergency workers and 4 practitioners: two general practitioners and two emergency physicians who can help people.

What kind of safety project did you complete for Stade Rennais FC?

Recently we doubled the number of cameras, we redid the entire CCTV system, and new digital cameras replaced our old analog system. Any risky areas like ticket offices, palpation areas, kiosks and concourses are now covered.

What can you tell me about safety in France?

In general in France there are some clubs who have some risky groups of supporters, but in general I believe that the supporters in the North and their rivals are pretty well managed and the atmosphere in the stadiums is rather good. Obviously there are small incidents between AS Saint-Etienne and Lyon, between Nantes FC and Stade Rennais FC, Paris SG and Olympique de Marseille, these matches are tense but I think that sanctions pronounced by the Committee of LFP are very powerful and point out clearly  the clubs’ own responsibilities and force them to work in coordination with policemen, and integrate strong safety devices.Off course we can’t prevent people from behaving like criminals.

Despite all I think that safety in France is managed in a very professional way. 

How is managed the access control in the stadium?

We have an access system which is implemented by the company TEAMACCESS and  100% of our gates are equipped with it. With this, we have a real-time management of people access and we can adapt our HR need on gates. We are satisfied with this system.

How are risky fans managed?

We regularly organize meetings with fans: we listen, we exchange and have a real communication as we don’t always agree. But I think it is important for a club to maintain regular communication with groups of ultras.

What does ESSMA mean for you as Stadium Manager?

ESSMA is a strong network that regularly organizes events based on knowledge exchange. I am proud to be a member of this network. I think that the current format with stadium tour is really good and represents what we need.


ESSMA offers a platform to stadium professionals where they can share, learn and discuss topics related to ESSMA’s areas of expertise: Stadium Development, Operations & Ticketing, Sustainability & SMART, Safety & Security, Fan Experience & Hospitality and Pitch Management.