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French government recommends blockchain after fiasco with UEFA Champion’s League tickets

A French government inquiry has concluded that future major sporting events should use blockchain for ticketing. The report follows the delay of more than half an hour to the start of the UEFA Champions League football final on May 28 after chaos at the ticket turnstiles resulting from counterfeit tickets. 

Worse still, fans were tear-gassed, and thousands who had unsuspectingly bought the tickets were refused entry to the match. Michel Cadot, the French interministerial delegate for the Olympic Games and major events, submitted his report to the French Prime Minister last week. He explored much more than ticketing, including crowd control and security issues.

The match between Liverpool and Real Madrid was held in Paris at the Stade de France although it was originally planned to be in Moscow but was moved after Russia invaded Ukraine. 

France is also host to the 2023 Rugby World Cup and the 2024 Olympics, for which blockchain ticketing was already planned. In fact, the Stade de France, where the ill-fated football match took place, already supports blockchain ticketing through its relationship with Secutix-owned TixNGo. 

However, one of the reasons for the problem was UEFA gave Liverpool a choice, and the club selected all 20,000 of its tickets to be issued as paper tickets. Real Madrid issued 40% of its tickets digitally. The report noted that the initial intent was to use digital tickets, which reduces the risk of fraud. Not mentioned in the report is UEFA also deployed TixNGo for the delayed Euro 2020 matches that took place last year.

For the Champion’s League final, three turnstiles dedicated to Liverpool fans processed 15,000 tickets, of which more than ten percent were counterfeits. There were a total of 2,589 counterfeit tickets in a 35,000-capacity match. While the tickets looked legitimate, about 1,800 of the forgeries were based on just three barcodes.

Below is an excerpt from the report relating to blockchain ticketing:

“The total dematerialization of non-transferable tickets, transmitted by the organizer only a few days before by SMS messaging and comprising a rotating QR code using blockchain technology, activated only in a virtual perimeter corresponding to the security perimeter of the site, which can be checked first at the pre-filtering and then deactivated once the visitor has entered the competition site.”