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The Egyptian Pro League Dilemma – E-Ticketing
An introduction to a series of several articles which will discuss the capability of implementing e-tickets in the upcoming Egyptian Pro League by KingFut’s Ahmed Assem.
It may come as a surprise for some; for others, the word itself may be synonymous with Egyptian pundits. Starting next season, there will be no ‘Egyptian League’ in it’s current format. The CAF have warned us, and the FIFA have also given us a strong caveat. The 14/15 season will have to mark the inaugural Egyptian Pro League, or else Egyptian sides will be prohibited from participating in CAF competitions.
What is a Pro League?
This article isn’t outlining the Pro League’s requirements, but in order to continue writing, there must be clarification.
A Professional (Pro) League, delivers the coup de grace to the FA’s control of Egyptian Football. The League, albeit inferior to the FA, must operate independently. It will consist of representatives from all clubs in the First Division, and a representative from the FA. All clubs will act as shareholders, working cohesively with the FA representative. Clear examples include, the Premier League (England) and the Lega Serie A (Italy).
That is not all, there must be a judiciary system running the Pro League, this protects both the clubs and players; in addition to all of this, profits and losses must be accounted regularly.
A Pro League is responsible for marketing the ‘product’, which in this case, is football. Just like Joao Havelange’s revolutionary ideas after being elected president of FIFA in 1974, the League is responsible for marketing the domestic competition and it’s distribution.
In short, it can be called a Risorgimento movement- which aims to unify all clubs in the First Division, and work towards their welfare.
About two weeks ago, I sat down and had a chat with one of the minds behind an idea which intends to change Egyptian football. The belligerent nature of the supporters, and the retaliation from the authorities, has meant that the whole system is in a dire need for a re-boot.
E-Ticketing has notably been implemented all over Europe, hence why you can book tickets online. The Egyptian coefficient will not differ greatly.
How it works?
Let’s say, for the sake of simplicity, that I want to buy a ticket for the Cairo Derby through Al-Ahly.
- I present an ID.
- Identified as high or low risk.
- My name and personal information are now on a computerized system.
- The original ticket is in the hands of the authorities. This ticket then gets stamped by three different organizations.
- On matchday, my name will be on the computerized system, thus meaning that I will receive a replica ticket with another piece of paper stapled to it which includes my rights and responsibilities.
Why the ID?
I didn’t understand at first, but what this representative said was, “in order to protect those watching from the stands, its imperative to know who is in the stands.” This is one of our major problems in Egypt. We see who is causing havoc on television, yet we don’t have a clue who he is. Once personal details are on the computerized system, then if someone is caught on camera causing any disruption, legal action can be taken against the aggressor.
High and Low Risk
Once you present your personal details, then the Ministry of Interior decide whether you are a High Risk or a Low Risk ticket purchaser. If you are a High Risk ticket purchaser, this means that there is a potential danger surrounding your presence in the stadium – someone who has caused wreckage and been charged with stadium violence, for example. This will limit your tickets, as you’ll only be allowed a maximum of five tickets at once.
Is five tickets at once a punishment?
“Five tickets is an adequate number when you bear in mind the large family sizes in Egypt (4.4 according to several sources).” In addition to the fact that: often people go in groups of five or six. Seldom would you find that a fan has opted to go to a league game alone. This rule limits the amount of tickets purchased at once without excluding anyone.
A Low Risk ticket purchaser is someone who has no previous offences, and will most likely leave the stadium in an organized, civilized manner. This purchaser will be allowed to purchase a maximum of ten tickets at once.
Part of the plan is to install cameras in the stadiums. Recently, Egyptian stadiums have been prone to riots. The cameras will basically be used to detect any delinquent ‘fan’.
The idea itself is marvelous, but will it work here in Egypt?