Colombia seeks to combat hooliganism with facial recognition tech

Estadio Manuel Murillo Toro in Ibagué, Colombia

Featured image credit: Juanjack606/CC BY-SA 4.0/Edited for size

Colombia’s Minister of Sports, María Isabel Urritia Ocoró, has said that facial recognition technology will be rolled out in stadia across the country following an incident that took place earlier this month.

A Categoría Primera A football match between Deportes Tolima and Millonarios at Estadio Manuel Murillo Toro on February 12 was postponed after the visiting team’s Daniel Cataño was attacked on the pitch by a fan ahead of kick off.

The incident has caused great controversy, with Urritia Ocoró stating that the government will move to implement technology in football venues. She said, according to the Infobae website: “After evaluations that we have made, and in accordance with a decree that the past government left, we are going to introduce facial recognition and surveillance of those who enter soccer stadiums, across all stadiums.”

Urritia Ocoró said that the intention is to ensure the safety of all those who work in the football industry. She added: “We are doing joint work with the Ministry of the Interior, the Registrar’s Office and the Attorney General’s Office. The decree brings together all the entities to control violence.”

Elsewhere in Latin America, it was announced last month that Allianz Parque, home of Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A football club Palmeiras, would be fitted with facial recognition technology to speed up entry into the stadium on match days.

Arena MRV, the future home of Campeonato Brasileiro Serie A club Atlético Mineiro, in July said it would employ facial recognition technology to aid access to the stadium.