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SAO PAULO, BRAZIL - General view of stadium Allianz Parque before the match between Palmeiras and Red Bull Bragantino as part of Brasileirao Series A 2022 at Allianz Parque on 14 May 2022 in Sao Paulo, Brazil. A facial recognition system at this stadium enabled the arrest of multiple criminals, authorities say. (Photo by Ricardo Moreira/Getty Images)

Facial Recognition at Brazilian Soccer Stadium Helps Police Arrest 28 Criminals

Facial recognition technology is helping stop criminals from attending soccer matches in Brazil and protecting fans, according to the Sao Paulo Public Security Secretariat (SSP).

Brazilian soccer club Palmeiras implemented a facial recognition system this year through the “Muralha Paulista” program—a security network that connects cameras and radars in different cities. The integration with Palmerias ticketing aims to ensure that the person who purchased a match ticket is the same as the fan entering the stadium, Reuters reports.

Fans purchase tickets virtually at which time their face is scanned. On match day, they enter the stadium through turnstiles connected to a facial recognition system which confirms the validity of the ticket purchase. The ticketing site for the team warns that fans must use tickets associated with their own face and not someone else’s—even if it is a relative or a friend.  

In addition to this new approach to gaining entry to ticketed events, the system has also helped the SSP apprehend 28 criminals at four matches at the Allianz Parque stadium. Another 42 people were prevented from accessing the stadium because they were not complying with court orders. The system also helped identify 253 missing people, the SSP said last week.

“The facial recognition technology at matches allows real-time analysis to detect fans who have bought tickets from touts (scalpers), the use of false or third-party documents, outstanding arrest warrants, noncompliance with court orders and sanctions,” according to Reuters. “After someone is identified, access to the stadium is blocked and police are alerted to intervene.”

Palmeiras club president Leila Pereira praised the system in a statement, noting: “We invested in the implementation of facial recognition to protect our greatest asset, which is the Palmeiras fans. We want our home to be increasingly safe for all the families that visit it, and we are pleased to contribute to the public security authorities.”

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