Facial Recognition Considered to Curb Soccer Hooliganism

Facial Recognition Considered to Curb Soccer HooliganismFacial recognition technology may be introduced to Scottish soccer stadiums as a means of addressing soccer club fans’ unruly conduct.

The idea came up during a meeting of the Scottish Professional Football League, with its 42 members considering the proposal in the wake of complaints over fans singing sectarian songs and setting off pyrotechnics in the stands. The idea is that facial recognition technology would be used to identify any fans who are misbehaving.

It’s a proposal that has already been met with some skepticism. Scottish Football Supporters Association Chairman Simon Barrow was quoted by the BBC as saying it would be “a rushed move towards intrusive surveillance,” while an Evening Times commentator decried the idea as a waste of resources over an issue that “has been blown out of proportion”.

There may also be a legal or regulatory issue over the introduction of such a system, given the controversy that has ensued when UK police have used facial recognition at other public events. Nevertheless, police in the UK have generally been enthusiastic about the technology’s benefits, and the SPFL is working with government partners to explore the matter, so it’s possible that such a solution could find official sanction in the near future.

Sources: Evening Times, BBC Sport, Leicestershire Mercury

January 20, 2016 – by Alex Perala