Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside Stadium steps up access control


A Newcastle, UK-based manufacturer of fingerprint readers has played a crucial role in ensuring the safety of the 33,000 fans who regularly fill Middlesbrough FC’s Riverside stadium.

Part of the £5m (US$6.2m) investment the club made for the start of the current soccer season and its promotion to the Premier League was focused on improved site security for staff and fans alike, with access control for full-time staff and part-time safety stewards becoming a priority.

Graham Smith, Middlesbrough FC’s project manager, explained, “We can have around 700 staff, including our part-time stewards, working at the Riverside during a home game and it is vitally important that we know exactly who is working on these days as they play such a vital role in ensuring the safety of the home and away fans, the players and the other staff.”

“Our previous access control system was a magnetic stripe card system that was simply not fit for purpose – not only was it easy to swap cards and add fraudulent data, but cards were continually being lost or stolen and we didn’t have the accuracy of data we required. We needed a more robust, reliable and advanced system in order to ensure that stewards were able to access the stadium in the most efficient manner, while verifying each individual entering the site. This would also allow us to monitor and record times and attendance for each match to control our staffing levels and ensuing costs.”

Access control supplier Progeny Access Control recommended and provided a new, state-of-the-art access control system for the stadium, with finger readers from ievo Ltd, as the preferred biometric solution. By using fingerprint data, theft or fraud issues with the previous identity cards were avoided, and the implementation of fingerprint readers across various site entrances meant that the identity of individuals accessing the building could be guaranteed.

Graham Smith continued, “Following an initial trial, we actually increased the original order, to provide access control into restricted staff-only areas, but what also really impressed everyone was the effectiveness of the system and how easy it was to register all our staff and stewards – it took less than 48 hours to register all our full-time and part-time employees.”

“Moreover, we have seen a 300% increase in time saved by managers processing staff attendance and hours for payroll details – it used to take at least 48 hours to process all the data, whereas it now takes around four hours. The main advantage, however, is the improved safety we can guarantee now to all our own and visiting fans and you can’t put a price on that!”

November 24, 2016

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