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Socios unveils Covid-19 immunity verification tool for football fans

Blockchain-based fan engagement platform Socios has announced plans for an immunity verification tool, designed to allow football fans to return to stadiums and watch live sport safely once the Covid-19 shutdown is lifted.

The ‘Socios Pass’ will allow an individual to connect a digital immunity certificate issued by a local authority with a free Socios.com account.

The company said these certificates will be verified by “KYC [know-your-customer] specialists” before a fan is allowed to watch matches at stadiums again.

Upon arrival at a venue, the application will show a secure one-time use QR code which serves as the fan’s identification and health status verification.

Stewards at the gates to the stadium of each participating club will be provided with a secure 1-click application capable of scanning the QR codes generated by the Socios Pass.

Socios has offered to provide the technology free of charge to all clubs who apply. Parent company Chiliz has indicated that no fan health data or information relating to immunity status will be retained by Socios.com.

“It is retrieved and read by an independent blockchain run by a public/private partnership only when users open their Socios Pass to be scanned at a stadium. Furthermore, users have to actively opt-in in order to be contacted by Socios.com for any other purpose,” a company spokesperson told SportBusiness.

Traditionally, Socios has provided fan voting and rewards apps for a network of football clubs, around the world.

The company has already signed long-term partnership agreements with Paris Saint-Germain and other leading football clubs such as Juventus, Atlético Madrid, Galatasaray, AS Roma and Barcelona. In February, Socios agreed a strategic partnership with the Lagardère Sports agency to develop new partnerships with athletes, federations, leagues and teams.

Alexandre Dreyfus, chief executive and founder of Socios.com and Chiliz said: “We recently polled football fans from our partner clubs on Socios.com, asking them if they would accept identity and health status checks if it meant that they could return to stadiums – around 74 per cent of respondents voted in favour of such measures.

“Should they need it, Socios.com Pass will provide sports teams with a low integration, GDPR compliant software only solution offering free KYC validation for fan identity and health status checks and allowing for the safe transition of fans back into stadiums.”

The news follows an announcement last week by UK Cyber security firm VST Enterprises (VSTE) that it was developing a ‘sports health passport’ for rights-holders to help them kick-start match attendances after the coronavirus shutdown is lifted.