Organisers of the African Cup of Nations in Egypt believe the digital ticketing system used for the event will help to keep fans safe ahead of kick off later today (Friday).
The host country has announced it is tightening security for the football tournament to help prevent any crowd trouble, as Egyptian league games have historically been hotbeds for violence and political dissent.
Tickets have only been sold online, with supporters forced to enter their national ID or passport number to allow authorities to vet and track fans, as well as limit touts from reselling for a profit.
The newly expanded 24-team tournament will be played in Cairo, Alexandria, Suez and Ismailia.
Africa Cup of Nations tournament director Mohamed Fadl told Reuters: “The fan ID and the online ticketing are security measures. It is to avoid the black market, to build a new system for Egyptians, to push the fans to return to the stadium.”
He added that the ticketing system used will be implemented for Egypt’s domestic league.
Since a 2011 uprising, the country has fallen into turmoil as security forces have been battling an Islamist insurgency. Dozens of people died at stadiums in Port Said in 2012 and in Cairo in 2015.
Fadl continued: “Security and surveillance cameras of the highest quality are all around the stadium.”
This week, police officers and armoured cars have been surrounding Cairo stadium in preparation for the football tournament, with strict security checks for people attempting to get into the stadium.
Egypt’s three group games sold out after authorities reduced the price of the cheapest tickets to 150 Egyptian pounds ($9/€8/£7) from 200 pounds. Fadl is hoping for 90 per cent attendance during the tournament.
The tournament kicks off today as the host nation takes on Zimbabwe in Cairo.