A Safe Return to Football


The long awaited 2020-21 football season is almost upon us, with fans eagerly awaiting the return of the ‘beautiful game’. The resumption of matches from the 17th of June in the form of broadcast only games led to mixed opinions, however. Whilst some supporters welcomed the new approach, others lamented the lacklustre alternative.

“The return of the Premier League showed us how important fans in the stadium are. The ‘best league in the world’ owes much of that doubtful tag to the atmosphere in stadiums. The sound effects are laughable”.

Fan Opinion – The Guardian  

Impacting the Local Economy

It’s not only supporters that are hoping for a swift return to their home away from home, Premier League chief Richard Masters concurs it is ‘absolutely critical’ fans return. In a BBC report he commented that “failure to do so will cost clubs £700m during the 2020-21 season…which will force them to make some very difficult decisions”. The chief further adds “every Premier League match contributes around £20m to the local and national economy, so not having fans in the stadium has serious financial repercussions outside of football”.

Returning Safely

Despite the all-round support to start reopening stadiums to the public, plans have been dealt a blow by the rising infection rate of Covid-19. Stadia were planned to reopen by October 1st, but now PM Boris Johnson has announced he will “revise and review” plans to allow fans back into sporting events, after he imposed a restriction on gatherings of more than 6 people. The Telegraph reports that when (and more importantly, if) supporters are allowed to return to stadiums a 30% capacity limit would be in place to effectively implement the new rules. As well as reduced capacity and social distancing, one-way systems like those now seen in shops, construction sites, restaurants and gyms will also be enforced. New guidance from the Health and Safety Executive however has explained how turnstiles can help reduce the number of people in high traffic areas to prevent coronavirus transmission, as they can limit overflow into crowded areas.

Expert Protection

To ensure stadiums and other organisations are actively compliant with the new regulations, Safetell, a market leading Physical Security product and service provider has developed a range of superior entrance security systems to help them through these unprecedented times. Such examples are the Tripod Turnstiles, Full Height Turnstiles and Speed Gates which can work in tandem with an existing access control system. For example, if it is decided that only season ticket holders will be allowed entrance into a stadium, Safetell Turnstiles, when integrated with an access control system, can be configured to recognise an authorised user and either grant or deny access. This solution can be applied to other organisations such as Government buildings, where security is a priority.

In addition, when linked with an access control system that utilises an input counting system, the turnstiles can be set to limit entry when a specified maximum capacity is reached until one person exits. Other stadia, such as rugby stadiums, cricket grounds, music arenas and tennis venues can also benefit from this as they can control access by viewing entries and exits in real time. Further security benefits include an anti-tailgating system within turnstiles and speed gates, which are particularly beneficial to stop unauthorised access. It may be a while till fans are able to experience high octane games back amongst their fellow supporters, but until then Safetell will continue to ensure measures are in place to make that sooner rather than later.