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Digital ID ticketing: Could it be on the cards in European football?

Digital ID ticketing is set to be introduced in Greek football as the government look to clamp down on violence in the stands. According to reports in the country, the Greek Football Federation could turn to a Digital ID app that the government launched in 2022 in a move that would raise concerns about supporter privacy.

The reports state that the course of action is considered a necessity by the government and Greek football and that it will be implemented this month. They are also looking at the installation of surveillance cameras at every stadium in the Greek Super League.

greek football fans
Football fans in Greece frequently tread the line between passion and violence – Photo by Icon Sport

Digital ID ticketing: Why it's being introduced in Greece

Violence in football has certainly reared its head more again in recent years. In the UK, the Black Country Derby was temporarily abandoned in January due to fans fighting on the pitch while in Greece, there have been several violent incidents over the past 18 months.

In December, things came to a head when a police officer was struck by a flare and killed which resulted in the government imposing a ban on football fans attending matches until February 12. As far as they are concerned, enough is enough and they believe the only solution is to be able to identify every single person who enters a football stadium.

Yiannis Vroutsis, the Greek Sports Minister, has explained how the new Digital ID ticketing system will work. He said:

“With the help of a mobile phone, a person’s ID can be automatically crosschecked with a ticket. Anyone without a cell phone won’t get into the stadium.”

As well as identification, Digital ID ticketing means that the address, phone number and stadium seat of every supporter in every Greek stadium on any given day will be known by authorities. This, in theory, should make it easier to prosecute any troublemakers.

Digital ID ticketing
Digital ID ticketing is set to be introduced in Greece in the coming weeks –
Photo by Icon Sport

A step further away from paper tickets

Over the past couple of seasons, football fans in the UK and abroad have had to adjust to a new ticketing system with paper tickets frequently being replaced by digital ones. Most football tickets are now simply a QR code on a smartphone which has upset fans who previously collected match tickets.

A move to Digital ID ticketing would take things one step further. While some people may find the idea of it uncomfortable, it could help to rid ticket touting from the game which would be a huge plus for football fans, particularly those who miss out on face-value tickets due to to touts purchasing tickets at bulk before selling them on the black market.

The Greek Football Federation aren't alone in their pursuit of a solution to the growing violence in football, as well as ticket touting. Football authorities in Italy and Spain are looking at facial recognition which would help to punish those who are involved in violence in the stands and ensure that banned supporters are kept out of stadia.


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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