Technology

Liga MX implements fan ID tech to stall fan violence

Featured image credit: Kanagawa2/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Featured image credit: Kanagawa2/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Mexico’s top-tier football league is to implement identity verification technology as it seeks to reverse the rise of violence within stadiums.

Liga MX will introduce Incode Technologies’ Fan ID service for game-day access in response to what it calls “the recent uptick in violence at major league sports events”. Fan ID ensures that all those who attend games are identified and means those banned will no longer be able to enter stadiums.

Liga MX will onboard five million fans to the system, with the technology to be used across 35 teams in more than 30 stadiums and at more than 400 games annually. Liga MX said fans can be authenticated in fewer than five seconds.

“The arrival of Fan ID at all Liga MX stadiums speaks to the great commitment we have to our fans in all venues, considerably improving their security and applying the highest standards in the care of personal data,” said Mikel Arriola, executive president of Liga MX. “This is a historic measure for soccer in Mexico.”

Incode’s fully automated, encrypted technology is based on artificial intelligence and aims to offer high levels of trust, security, and data privacy. Pre-registration is also available, with guests only needing to register once to receive access to any match at any stadium.

“We feel honoured to have been selected to implement FAN ID by Incode in Mexico since our identity verification process safeguards fans’ personal data and privacy,” said Ricardo Amper, founder and chief executive of Incode. “Our encryption process covers information with the highest standards of security so that everyone can have a great experience even before entering the stadium.”

In March of this year, the Mexican Football Federation (FMF) and Liga MX issued a raft of sanctions against Querétaro after two dozen people were injured, three of them critically, during a game against Atlas. 14 people were arrested in connection with the incident, which caused the match to be suspended with 30 minutes remaining.

Querétaro’s ‘barra’ fan club were banned from attending home games for three years, along with visiting other Liga MX stadia for one year. Querétaro’s ownership group also received a five-year ban from Mexican football, while the club must be sold to new owners by the end of the year.

Querétaro was also hit with a fine of 1.5 million Mexican pesos (£53,868/€64,601/$70,843). The match, which stood at 1-1 when the fighting broke out, was awarded as a 3-0 win to Atlas.