Can face biometrics make football safer in the stands? Liga MX execs really hope so
The top professional football division in the Mexican league is deploying face biometrics to reduce fights in stands.
Just last Saturday, seemingly organized violence broke out during a match in the state of Querétaro, north of Mexico City. Teams Atlas and Querétaro were playing.
Twenty-six people were reportedly injured, some seriously and one critically (numbers vary). The scale of the situation is being described as unprecedented in Mexico.
A long list of sanctions, including a fine and attendance bans of various lengths for organized Querétaro supporters’ clubs and individuals convicted of being involved in the attacks.
Owners of Liga MX teams are looking for an ongoing strategy for stopping fighters from entering stadiums or in this case, within a three-kilometer circle around the Querétaro pitch.
Specifically, they say they will implement new fan identification registration based on facial recognition systems. It will be deployed first at Atlas and Querétaro stadiums and expanded to all Liga MX fields.
The biometrics program will fall within a new security and intelligence division of the league.
Various officials who watched multiple attacks spread during the match from the stands to the pitch were quoted saying it appeared to them that gangs or even drug cartel members methodically sought out others for bloody punishment.
Mexican stadiums have seen a number of violent incidents over the years, but generally not among typical fans. As with the latest incident, fights have been attributed in part to “the country’s general insecurity,” according to The Guardian.