AAMI Park to implement facial recognition technology to improve match day safety

AAMI Park Security at Victory games

Melbourne Victory have announced that AAMI Park will be implementing facial recognition technology as part of its security monitoring and surveillance system at the venue ahead of the 2023/24 A-Leagues season.

The goal from the A-Leagues is to introduce several tools to AAMI Park in order to create a safe and enjoyable experience for all attendees, guests, players and staff.

The technology may be used to identify individuals who have been banned by Football Australia, the Australian Professional Leagues, competing clubs as well as persons who pose a threat to the safety, security, or integrity of the event, venue, or precinct.

No Australian football fan has forgotten about the disgraceful riots and actions of the ‘OSM’ Victory supporters at last years’ Melbourne derby – that evening at AAMI Park played a part in the swift decision to introduce this technology for safety purposes.

The technology works similarly to a QR Code like we saw during COVID-19 protocols where the system collects an image of a person’s face that is then converted into a special unique code known as a mathematical template for identification purposes (like a barcode).

Melbourne Victory Managing Director Caroline Carnegie explained what the technology means for future Victory games at AAMI Park.

“We have had an enormous amount of feedback from our members and fans around Stadium security measures and how we can ensure a safe environment for everyone to enjoy our games. As a Club, we are pleased that AAMI Park will have improved security measures in place this season,” Carnegie said in the press release.

“We are extremely excited for the season ahead and look forward to our members and fans supporting our boys and girls in blue and creating an atmosphere that rivals what we witnessed during the recent Women’s World Cup. We want an atmosphere that is representative of everything we love about football and that enables us all to represent our Club together.”

Melbourne Victory are preparing for another big season in both A-Leagues competitions, recently crushing the Women’s team membership records and consistently being a top-three club membership wise in the men’s competition.

This makes it extremely important that the club fixes the glaring safety issue at home games to prepare for this season and try to create a really attractive experience to increase crowd numbers at AAMI Park which have been down over 30% since the 19/20 season pre-Covid.

This technology has already been tried and tested in the Brazilian league at Allianz Parque, home of football club Palmeiras, with great success in its infancy.

The São Paulo Public Security Secretariat (SSP) revealed that the facial recognition technology helped arrest 28 criminals in the first four matches at the stadium, with 253 missing people identified and 146,793 tickets verified by the new tool since they brought it in mid-May 2023.

Initially, the facial recognition technology was brought in with an effort to speed up access to the stadium and also combat ticket touting, however clearly the statistics show that it has a lot of power combatting potential criminals which seems to be who the A-Leagues are targeting.

This move to implement facial recognition to improve fan and staff safety can only be seen as a huge positive and a rare proactive decision made by the A-Leagues.

The importance and magnitude of this move cannot be understated either as it also has the gleaming potential to transform the way we get into future A-Leagues events, how we buy food and merchandise, and the overall fan experience in the stadium.

Newcastle Jets secure A-League future with new owners confirmed

Newcastle Jets have confirmed Maverick Sports Partners as the Club’s new owners. This ownership, subject to final approval from the APL and Football Australia, will launch a “new era” for the Jets under MSP ownership.

This massive announcement comes not long after Australian Professional Leagues chairman Stephen Conroy failed to guarantee Newcastle’s future only three months ago.

The statement said that Maverick Sports Partners have confirmed an agreement to acquire the Newcastle Jets Football Club and are now deeply focused on implementing their plans to bring long term stability and success to this Club.

The Group lead by experienced sports administrator Maurice Bisetto who played a major part in the establishment of Western United FC in the A-Leagues.

Maverick Sports Group is an Australian sports consortium based out of Wetherhill Park in Sydney’s South-West.

Newcastle Jets CEO Shane Mattiske confirmed the significant news.

“Today is a hugely significant day for this Club and this community, as we confirm Maverick Sports Partners as the new owners of the Jets,” said Mattiske in a club statement.

“Over the last three years, we have built a strong foundation for the future of this football club, and it is exciting to be beginning a new era with incoming owners who believe in the opportunity that exists with this Club, with this community and with football as a whole.

“Throughout our process, Maurice Bisetto, the consortium representative, and his partners have demonstrated a deep understanding of football and how to bring success. They also understand this community and their plans are very much aligned with the work that is already underway. I know the Group will bring positive new thinking, new connections and a wealth of experience that will drive the growth of this Club moving forward.

“With this transition to a permanent ownership structure, it is important to acknowledge the support that the outgoing ownership group has provided to the Club over the last three and a half years. These owners believed in the importance of this Club to this community and to the A-Leagues’ competition as a whole.

“They have played a hugely significant role in the history of this Club and on behalf of all fans and stakeholders of the Jets I want to acknowledge the commitment and contribution they have made to us all. Their huge support of this Club will forever be remembered.”

Maverick Sports Partners Director Maurice Bisetto is determined to connect with the Newcastle, Hunter Valley and Northern NSW Community.

“We believe in this Club, the A-Leagues and its players and we’re determined to build success for the Jets and this region,” said Bisetto in a statement.

“We have been impressed by the strength of football here in this region. We know there is a strong historical fanbase and a strong participation base here and we want to bring all of these people together for our Men’s and Women’s games.

“Our team at Maverick Sports Partners are absolutely committed to, and very excited, about the opportunity that exists here at the Newcastle Jets. We see this as the beginning of a new era for the Newcastle Jets and look forward to building a truly great Club with the support of this community.”

This news is huge for the league and the Jets financially, with the club no longer being a financial responsibility for the four other A-League clubs that funded them (Sydney FC, Western Sydney, Western United and Wellington Phoenix).

The Jets can easily recruit players and rebuild to become a stronger unit on the field whilst securing stability off it, and the foundation A-League club with a healthy fanbase and great location can continue to exist.

Iconic Lambert Park re-opens after $2m refurbishment

Lambert Park, home of the APIA Leichardt Football Club, officially re-opened on the weekend after a successful $2m refurbishment.

The extensive investment for the iconic local club includes:

– Replacement of the all-weather playing surface

– Improved drainage

– New concrete edge, stairs and fencing around the perimeter

– Improved access with a new ramp to allow access on the field

The ground is gradually improving to become one of the premier NPL surfaces in the country and this is another one of many recent upgrades helped by the commitment of the Inner West Council.

Currently the ground has two main stands on either side of the playing surface. In the southern stands, there are dressing room facilities, a social club with views of the game, press facilities and media facilities.

On Sunday, the new look Lambert Park was the home for the APIA Leichardt vs Gladesville Ravens NPL Women’s game, and the day was spent in celebration of the refurbishment, as the club organised an event.

The event included an official ceremony by Inner West Council pre-game, free ice cream and activations which drew a decent crowd to the game.

APIA posted an update regarding Sunday’s re-opening.

“Lambert Park was filled with Maroon and Blue as over 400 predominantly female footballers celebrated the $2 million Lambert Park upgrade,” APIA confirmed on their social media accounts.

“The day was filled with some fantastic football and some great activations and enjoyed by all.

“The clubs would also like to thank local clubs Balmain & District Football Club, Leichardt Saints and opponents on the day Gladesville Ravens Women’s NPL football for supporting the day.

“It was a special day for football in our community.”

Lambert Park is an iconic ground that has seen some of Australia’s best names start their careers there since it was first used in 1954.

APIA Leichardt Football Club has produced more Matildas and Socceroos than any other club in Australian history.

The ground gets another much deserved upgrade and will continue to host NPL NSW matches across all age groups in both men’s and women’s competitions.

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