Tech Firm Aims to Help Get Sports Fans Safely Back into Stadiums

A British cyber technology firm has put forward pilot programs to the U.K. government’s Department Of Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and the Prime Minister’s office to help get soccer, rugby and sports fans back into stadiums following Boris Johnson’s announcement to get stadiums open by October.

The pilot programs from VST Enterprises Ltd (VSTE) are called ‘FANS ARE BACK’ and have been given the blessing of former U.K. Sports Minister Richard Caborn. Unlike some contact tracing apps, the V-Health Passport does not track or trace a person’s live location or breach personal privacy protocols. It is also designed to ensure that personal data is ultra secure by using advanced security protocols and end to end encryption using closed loop technology.

VSTE along with its sports partners REDSTRIKE, public safety and event management partners HALO Solutions and occupational health care company Latus Health have put forward active pilot proposals to DCMS to get soccer and rugby union and rugby league fans back into sports stadiums across the U.K. in a safe and controlled manner.

‘FANS ARE BACK’ pilot programs will cover soccer, rugby and snooker initially working with DCMS, Public Health England, SGSA (Sports Ground Safety Authority) and the various bodies including the Premier League, RFU, RFL and World Snooker. Upon its successful trials other pilot programs will then be rolled out across music concerts, theatre and other entertainment venues.

The pilot programs will see a sample group of between 500-5000 home fans tested a day prior to a specially designated soccer or rugby match using a COVID-19 rapid test kit. Each testing kit will also be provided with an secure digital health passport to be used on the fan’s mobile phone called V-Health Passport. The secure digital passport will authenticate and validate the fans COVID-19 status.

The V-Health Passport is powered by the secure VCode which works alongside a COVID-19 testing kit to provide an intelligent traffic light system on a smart phone to authenticate a person’s test status of positive or negative. “Red” indicates a positive, “Green” indicates a negative test result and “Amber” indicates a countdown trigger date to the next test date required. 

The FANS ARE BACK pilot programs will be overseen by event safety team HALO Solutions Ltd who have extensive experience managing and supporting events such as the Cricket World Cup 2019, Isle Of Wight Festivals, BBC Sports Personality Of The Year to British Athletics providing event safety and management. Medical administration and testing will be carried out by Latus Health and Infinite Global Possibilities who have considerable experience in occupational health for corporate entities and COVID -19 testing with clients ranging from investment bank JP Morgan to nationwide grocery stores. 

How will the pilot programs work?

The pilot will involve a test group of home fans will who be selected by their soccer or rugby team randomly to attend the pilot FANS ARE BACK event. Each will be instructed to download the V-Health Passport onto their mobile phone prior to the testing day. The fan will then enter their details, name, address, date of birth, phone number, and doctors details onto their V-Health Passport and also confirm their official identity by uploading their official U.K. Government ID in the form of passport or driver’s licence document. The uploaded documents are then verified against the phone’s facial recognition to match the persons details in a “likeness test”.

The sample group of fans will then be invited to attend and take a COVID-19 rapid test at a pre-defined location, by pre-booked appointment the day prior to the event.  Upon arrival at the test site they will be asked to present their V-Health Passport for scanning and a temperature check will be taken before being directed to a test station for the COVID-19 test.

The test takes one minute to administer with results in 10 minutes. The fan’s test status is then uploaded to their V-Health Passport. The V-Health Passport will then show a GDPR compliant screen when presented to officials for scanning showing the fan’s official photograph and a green traffic light symbol to confirm ‘negative’ test status and the date of the test. A more in-depth and detailed screen can only be viewed by authorized medical staff. The fan is then advised to return home and self-isolate until the pilot match the next day.

On match day the fans are then invited to return to the stadium and present their V-Health Passport which is scanned by event security officials and stewards to confirm who they are and their valid V-Health Passport  and COVID-19 test status. The V-Health Passport can be scanned by officials up to 100 meters away in social distancing and while crowds are arriving at an event, thus preventing choke points and bottlenecks on entry.

The details uploaded to the V-Health Passport can also then be used for contact tracing purposes working with the National Health Service (NHS) if a person tested positive in the test day prior to the event. All data from the pilot FANS ARE BACK event will then be fed back to DCMS, Public Health England and the NHS.

VSTE says the BioSURE rapid COVID-19 test is the only antibody kit available which tests for IgA, IgM and IgG antibodies. It is able to identify if a person currently has COVID-19, or if they have had a previous infection. 

Former Sports Minister Richard Caborn believes that the FANS ARE BACK pilot programs will positively assist  government plans and give confidence to the fans to allow stadiums safely to re-open again in October.

“This is exactly what the government needs to be encouraging sports administrators to adopt for fans to be safe in coming back into the sports stadiums and major events. In my opinion it is a significant and positive way in ensuring that spectator sports can resume in the U.K. where we test, test, test, and use a health passport to validate that test result. That is the only way we can ensure that sports fans are safely entering a stadium as test negative.”

VSTE is also providing its VCode and VPlatform technology to work with the United Nations as part of their SDG Collaboratory (Sustainable Development Goals) program – to provide a wide range of technology services to 9 billion people by 2030.

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