KAA Gent has claimed a first for the Pro League, the top division of Belgian club football, by trialling a biometric entry system at its Ghelamco Arena.
In what is intended to be an 18-month pilot project, Gent has teamed up with Belgian IT service company Perfect-ID and its Palmki palm authentication system. The service was first tested by members of the Young Business Club of KAA Gent for Sunday’s 3-1 Pro League home win over Standard de Liège.
Palmki is being tested in collaboration with StarNet to improve the access procedure, offering Young Business Club members the opportunity to enter the stadium via a special ‘Fast Lane’. The project marks the first time a Pro League club has tested this technology.
Marc Strackx, director of Perfect-ID, said: “Palmki’s palm authentication offers a secure, fast and innovative method to connect fans and provide smooth and efficient access.
“This pilot project will help us understand how fans respond to this groundbreaking technology. Based on the results and feedback, further research can be done on how the technology can best be integrated into football stadiums.”
After their palm has been scanned at the turnstile, a fan can enter the stadium without a ticket, season card or identity card. The results of the pilot project will be assessed in the spring of 2025.
KAA Gent director, Dirk Piens, said: “In our continuous search for more comfort for our spectators and inspired by the new ‘Safe Football’ law, we looked for an innovative technology to grant spectators access to the stadium in a smooth and safe way.
“We are pleased to have found a Flemish partner for this with Palmki. In addition, the input of the various academic partners in this project is very important for KAA Gent because we want this to proceed with the greatest possible respect for privacy and GDPR.”