Liverpool Football Club is to issue season ticket holders with contactless smartcards this year following a successful trial at its Anfield stadium last season.
The club has installed smartcard readers at all 80 turnstiles and could eliminate paper tickets altogether by 2008, according to IT manager Ken Webster.
He says the smartcards will replace the 28,000 season ticket voucher books issued each year, improve security and make entering the stadium quicker.
‘The speed of processing and identification on match day will speed up access as fans do not even have to take the smartcard out of their wallet,’ said Webster.
Smartcards also reduce the risk of forgery and ticket touting as the cards will be retained by fans throughout the season.
Supplier Fortress launched the cards with a limited trial two years ago before installing readers at all gates into Anfield.
Ovum analyst Graham Titterington says many clubs are adopting smartcards, but costs limit it to large teams. He does not believe paper tickets will be phased out completely.
‘This would create problems when dealing with casual or away fans, as there will always be some fans who attend just a few games and it would be too expensive to give them all chip-enabled cards,’ he said.
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