Italian Serie A football club Udinese has announced it will use its Dacia Arena to test new technology designed to safely return fans to stadia during COVID-19.

Sunday’s Serie A match against Fiorentina will be the setting for the trial of the technology developed by Italian consultancy Be. Shaping the Future. The technology has been endorsed by the Infront agency, which serves as Udinese’s commercial advisor, and will be involved in the trial.

Udinese said the first test of the ‘RE-START’ project has come following the UK Government’s announcement on Monday that up to 10,000 fans could be allowed back into English sports venues from May 17 as part of a roadmap to ease COVID-19 restrictions.

Sunday’s match will see around 350 people, normally present in the Dacia Arena for matchday operations, equipped with a device that signals with a vibration, both to the wearer and stewards, when rules over social distancing are broken. The device also allows for contact tracing inside the stadium, whilst respecting privacy laws.

“Technological innovation applied to football is in Udinese’s DNA,” said vice-president of Udinese, Stefano Campoccia. “Here in Udine revolutionary experiments have always started, such as those of Goal Line Technology, VAR (video assistant referee) and the facial recognition tested on the occasion of the final of the (UEFA) Under 21 European Championships in 2019.

“Thanks to the great vision of (president) Giampaolo Pozzo, Udine has always been a springboard for innovations. Now, with a view to a reopening stadia in total safety, which the world of professional football hopes for as soon as possible, the Dacia Arena intends to strongly confirm its ambition to become a reference point, nationally and internationally, for experimentation and development of innovative tools useful for reopening to the public in the near future.”

The Be Group recently utilised its ‘Human Mobility’ tool at the 2021 Alpine World Ski World Championships, which were hosted by the Italian resort of Cortina d’Ampezzo from February 8-21.

We are returning from the success of the Cortina Ski World Championships where Human Mobility… was the reference ecosystem to guarantee the safety of officials, athletes and admitted guests,” said Stefano Achermann, CEO of Be. Shaping the Future.

“It is a solution tested in over 16 countries around the world, and in nine different languages. Our experience is available to the entire sports and entertainment industry to support the controlled resumption of activities.”

Image: Udinese