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TURKEY > E-ticket system launched amid criticism and supporter protest

ISTANBUL

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Season ticket holders are not required by the ‘passolig’ card for the remaining of the season, but they will be included in the system for the 2014-2015 season.

Season ticket holders are not required by the ‘passolig’ card for the remaining of the season, but they will be included in the system for the 2014-2015 season.

A new system requiring Turkish football fans to buy special cards and electronic tickets to watch games in the stadiums has been implemented amid criticism and protests from the supporter groups.

As of yesterday, anyone who wants to buy tickets for a football match in the Spor Toto Super League and PTT League One will be first asked to buy a card dubbed “passolig,” and the tickets for the games will be bought with this card.

The card comes in three forms: credit card, debit card and pre-paid card. The card will include the identity information of the supporter on one side and his or her photograph on the other.

Cameras in stadiums

The company that owns the “passolig” card will establish the necessary equipment for the new system in stadiums. The investment per stadium, including cameras with facial recognition technology, is expected to be around 1 million euros.

In exchange, the company is selling the cards for 25 Turkish Liras to the supporters of Galatasaray, Beşiktaş, Fenerbahçe and Trabzonspor, and 15 liras to the fans of the other clubs. All of the clubs in the Spor Toto Super League and the PTT Division One, except Istanbul clubs Fenerbahçe and Kasımpaşaspor, are included in the system and will receive a share of the income.

The clubs that do not apply the electronic ticketing system will be fined 100,000 liras for each game.
Foreigners will also need to present their passports and purchase a “passolig” card before purchasing tickets.

Data security

The new system is under fire not only for the extra costs it puts on football supporters, but also for the concerns over private data and its security. The company will have access to the supporters’ national identity data, bank accounts and other private data, and will share it with the police and Turkish Football Federation (TFF).

Turkish supporter groups issued a declaration on April 13 calling on football fans not to buy the e-tickets and boycott the games.

“The e-ticket system does not only demote the concept of supporter to a customer, but it also files all our private data,” said the declaration signed by over 40 supporter groups. “The system aims to prevent supporters from organizing and is designed to demolish stadium culture and supporter identity.”

The new system’s first effect on the attendance can be seen this weekend when Beşiktasş hosts league leader Fenerbahçe at Atatürk Olympic Stadium. Although the game is very important for the home team fighting for a Champions League berth, only around 4,000 tickets were sold for the match as a of yesterday, while the stadium’s capacity is 75,000.

Season ticket holders will be able to watch their teams’ games in the remaining of the season, but a “passolig” will be required to buy a season ticket next year.

April/16/2014

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