English Championship football club Brentford became the first of SecuTix’s UK clients to use its social distancing tool to welcome 2,000 supporters over the weekend.

The club’s match against Blackburn Rovers marked the first time it had welcomed fans since opening its new stadium earlier in the year. It marked seven years to the day since Brentford was granted planning permission for the new 17,250-seat stadium.

Up to 2,000 supporters are currently allowed in areas of England that are in Tier 2 of the COVID-19 alert level. The new tiered system came into effect last Wednesday, when a number of English Football League (EFL) teams marked the return of fans to their stadiums.

Mike Morris, Brentford’s technology director, said: “2020 has been a difficult year, but something that hasn’t changed is the fact that Brentford is a truly fan-centric club. Being in Tier 2, we are currently limited to welcoming back 2,000 fans a game, but we set out to manage that in the fairest way possible by giving our season ticket holders access to games on a rotational basis.”

The SecuTix social distancing tool, which automatically blocks off surrounding seats when tickets are booked, helps clubs to ensure social distancing restrictions are maintained as crowds return.

Morris added: “We were really impressed with how the tool worked. Being automated obviously helped from a logistical perspective and gives us the confidence to scale up when more fans are allowed back. Via the tool we managed to hit 30-per-cent occupancy across the stands we opened, which was at the higher end of our expectations.”

David Hornby, managing director SecuTix UK and Ireland, added: “As we saw at the weekend, the return of fans is crucial to the recovery of sport in the UK. Brentford are using our recently developed social distancing tool to help welcome their fans back. We are delighted that our technologies are facilitating the whole experience for Brentford as a partner and ultimately their fans as well.”