Biometric tickets and retina scans — the future of football?

May 21, 2008

Russian servicemenSonia Oxley blogged here last week on whether we might see a repeat of the violence which marred the UEFA Cup final last week at the Champions League final in Moscow.

UEFA officials say they don’t expect any trouble, and certainly no retaliatory attacks on Manchester United or Chelsea fans but last week’s rioting on the streets of Manchester and stabbing of a Russian fan raises wider questions about who is to blame, and whether violence can ever be completely kicked out of soccer.

UEFA says it can’t solve the problems without the help of the police and local authorities. The clubs say they cannot be held accountable for the behaviour of all their fans. Politicians say it is a deeper sociological problem. But still the violence goes on.

After AC Milan’s victory over Liverpool in Athens, European soccer’s governing body has stepped up its security measures, notably introducing new modern turnstiles, specialised staff training and more cooperation with local police.

But the common denominator between Athens and Manchester was ticketing. UEFA says it has done just about everything to curb forged tickets or to stop tickets getting into the wrong hands.

But officials say, if the violence continues, they may be forced to introduce biometric entry via fingerprint or eye scan in the future. Has soccer really come to this?

PHOTO: Russian interior servicemen sit in trucks with a soccer poster in the background as they get ready to provide security measures in central Moscow, May 20, 2008.  REUTERS/Denis Sinyakov

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