Man City to Trial Facial Recognition to Help Fans Beat Matchday Queues at Etihad

Tom Gott18 AUG 2019

​Manchester City are set to begin trialing facial recognition software which will be able to immediately recognise whether a fan has bought a ticket, in an attempt to reduce queues on matchdays.

With the Etihad Stadium holding 55,000 fans, there can often be lengthy delays outside the ground whilst fans wait to be allowed entry to the game.

Fortunately, that could soon be a thing of the past, as ​The Times state ​City are working with Blink Identity to test a scheme which would hopefully allow 50 fans into the stadium each minute.

For the system to work, fans would need to sign up using a picture of their face, and it would then be able to recognise which supporters have bought tickets and allow them access to the Etihad.

To begin with, there will be a single lane at the stadium which will utilise a traffic light system. It will scan a face, then display a green light if it detects that the fan is one of those with a ticket.

Mary Haskett, Blink Identity’s co-founder and chief executive, insisted that the change will benefit both fans and the club, saying: “If you are standing in line, you’re not having fun or having a good time. 

“A game only lasts so long, and your ability to sell food and beverages and T-shirts is limited to that time. So if you can get them in faster, it makes everybody happy.”

A spokesman for City’s Chester and District supporters club added their support for the trial as “there are problems with queuing at the Etihad and sometimes you can even miss the start of the game”.

As with any system of this nature, there have been plenty of concerns about the potential security of its users, but it seems both City and Blink Identity are committed to protecting fans, whilst also ensuring they can enjoy matchdays as much as possible.

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