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Facial recognition planned for all stadiums in Italy’s top football league

Facial recognition planned for all stadiums in Italy’s top football league

Italy’s top professional soccer (aka football) league will deploy facial recognition at all stadiums in order to enforce bans of fans violating league rules, its chief executive says.

Luigi De Siervo, CEO of Lega Serie A, said in an interview reported by The Stadium Business that the league plans for video surveillance systems at stadium entry points to be connected to facial recognition systems to identify fans who break racial discrimination rules. The comments follow the announcement of sanctions against Udinese and one of its fans after a visiting player was subjected to a torrent of racial abuse from the stands.

Under the plan, the data would be collected by clubs, but shared with the police when deemed necessary.

Facial recognition could be rolled out by the end of the season, and De Siervo says the league has already completed a feasibility study.

Serie A stadiums have deployed facial recognition in the past, including Udinese’s Bluenergy Stadium, which trialled the technology in 2019 for the UEFA U21 European Championship final.

How this plan will align with GDPR and the AI Act remains to be seen.

Spain’s data protection authority, AEPD, is questioning the proportionality and process behind LaLiga’s plan to implement face biometrics at stadiums to improve fan safety.

Players seem to be supportive of the use of facial recognition to tackle violence in stadiums.

Fan access control is just one potential application of facial recognition in stadiums, as explained by Veridas representatives in a recent webinar (available to watch on demand with free registration) hosted by Biometric Update. The discussion also touched on privacy and data security considerations and fan perception of facial recognition.

Biometrics are changing fan experience at stadiums and beyond

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