Technology Helping the English Premier LeagueThe English Premier League is one of the most popular sporting organisations in the world, with hundreds of thousands of spectators attending matches every weekend throughout the season, and millions more all over the globe tuning into live matches on their TV sets. Over the past two decades, it has become the envy of many other sports, partly because it generates huge incomes thanks to television broadcast agreements.

Matches involving the more celebrated clubs, such as Manchester United, Liverpool and Arsenal, are invariably sold out long before kick-off time approaches, and in many cases even the most dedicated fans find it exceptionally difficult to get tickets. The best option is to become a season ticket holder, but this can involve a major financial commitment, and in any case there are lengthy queues to get them in the first place.

There is a small trade in black market tickets, and although this is frowned upon by the authorities it can’t be denied that it exists. Many of the clubs have incorporated technology in a bid to prevent this, and the most common weapon against the wrong-doer is the installation of barcode-readers at the entrance gates to the various stadiums. Because of this, every spectator usually needs to be in possession of either a membership card or a season ticket that contains machine-readable information.

Be careful with your membership card

English Premier LeagueSome members who wish to let someone else use their card for a specific match will lend them to others, but they are running a major risk because the club could cancel their membership if they discover what’s happened. At a match involving Manchester United, the chances of club security employees finding out are generally slim, if only because it’s almost impossible to check the credentials of 75,000 or more fans.

Of course, if the individual holding the card for that match should misbehave, the membership of the owner could end up being cancelled, so there is a definite risk involved in allowing someone else to use it. The game’s authorities, and the clubs themselves, are desperate to avoid a return to the bad old days of soccer hooliganism, so any breaches of standards by anyone could result in bans from all stadiums for a whole lifetime.

The advent of the digital age has seen an increase in the storage of information by the various police authorities in England, and because of this there are a significant number of former regular attendees at matches who are unlikely to ever be allowed in a ground again. Their misdemeanours may range in severity, but the end result is always the same: you’re not allowed in here!

David Showell is a soccer fan from the south of England. When he’s not watching his favourite sport, he’s working for