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Dutch football trials blockchain ticketing

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The Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB) and Amsterdam’s JC Arena are testing blockchain to reduce black-market trading and ticket fraud, reported Dutch publication Ajax Life. Yesterday’s Euro cup qualifier between Netherlands and Estonia saw some fans entering the stadium without a printed ticked, made possible by blockchain and GPS.

The initiative is part of the ‘Change the Game Challenge’ where several companies were challenged by JC Arena, KNVB, FC Ajax and ID&T to come up with innovative solutions to enhance the match experience for fans.

A small group of fans were issued blockchain-based tickets for yesterday’s game. The tickets were provided to supporters via a mobile app instead of receiving a PDF file.

Moreover, the barcode used to enter the JC Arena was only activated once the supporter was near the stadium and within a narrow timeframe. This made it nearly impossible to sell a ticket on the black market. But it was still possible to transfer a ticket in compliance with the Football Association rules (we’re guessing to family).

As a result, fans did not have to print their tickets. While the report did not say so, such a blockchain ticketing process could also validate the identity of the fans entering the stadium, contributing to eliminating fraud.

Meanwhile, KNVB said depending on the outcome of the trials under ‘Change the Game Challenge’, the innovations will be further developed with the help of the European Regional Development Fund.

“The opportunity arose to conduct a test in collaboration with the KNVB, but Ajax itself is also looking into the opportunities for implementing improvements. If we learn something from this experiment, the results are also shared with the club,” a spokeswoman for the JC Arena told Ajax Life.

Blockchain’s potential for preventing ticket fraud is driving many to adopt the new technology. Last year, UEFA said it was using blockchain to thwart ticket replication and duplication.

Earlier this year, Dutch firm GUTS Tickets used blockchain to sell tickets for popular local star Guus Meeuwis’s June 2020 event. More recently, Telecharge said it was securing tickets to Broadway shows using blockchain.

Meanwhile, collectibles are another popular application of blockchain by football clubs. Bayern Munich, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Borussia Dortmund, West Ham United and Manchester City have signed deals with blockchain firms.