Liverpool FC has announced a full review of its ticketing and access processes after a second Anfield match in two days was delayed due to issues relating to its new mobile ticketing system.
Monday evening’s pre-season friendly against Osasuna was held back by 15 minutes just a day after Sunday’s match against Athletic Bilbao was delayed for 30 minutes.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, Liverppol – which is partnered with SeatGeek – said it trialled both NFC technology and ‘Print@Home’ tickets during the two games to help with learnings of both processes ahead of the new season. It added that the kick-off times at both friendlies were delayed “to ensure all supporters were safely in Anfield to see the Reds before a ball was kicked”.
The club said the move to digital technology for stadium entry has been influenced by the Premier League encouraging all clubs to operate a digital-first policy this coming season, inclusive of all home and away fans.
“Only if situations in which NFC technology is not yet available or fully operational can clubs use methods such as ‘Print@Home’ tickets,” Liverpool said in a statement. “This change in policy is to increase safety at football stadiums and reduce physical contact through tickets.”
Phil Dutton, vice-president of ticketing and hospitality at LFC, said the club would instigate an investigation and notify fans of any changes before the club’s first Premier League home game against Burnley on August 21.
He said: “These new stadium entry processes significantly change the matchday operation for supporters and staff so we wanted to have an opportunity to test those processes in order to refine and improve them going forward.
“As well as the obvious football reasons, that was the purpose of holding two friendlies held in little over 24 hours at which we were able to trial the new processes with a reduced capacity to see how they worked. The most significant outcome is that the technology in general works but other issues became apparent, resulting in supporter entry rates being slower than usual.
“All supporters got into the stadium safely but it did take longer than expected. There were huge improvements from the first game to the second game as a result of learnings in between the two fixtures. This, coupled with a better understanding of the system, saw entry rates increase significantly, albeit with a need for further improvements to be made.”
Dutton added: “We will now do a full review of the process and gather data to identify those areas where access processes fell below our required standard. Importantly, we will work with supporters and matchday staff to fully understand the issues and identify opportunities for improvements.
“We will also continue to seek feedback from fan forum members who attended the friendlies this week and also from Spirit of Shankly, the supporters trust. I must say that all fans who attended the games have been brilliant and we must thank them for their patience and understanding with the new entry processes. We know it has been frustrating for many but, on both nights, our supporters have been fantastic and we couldn’t have asked any more of them.”