Liverpool are intent in their endeavour to ensure fans enjoy a smooth and trouble-free entry into Anfield following ticket problems prior to both pre-season friendlies.
The Reds deployed NFC technology for the 40,000 crowds against both Athletic Club and Osasuna but kickoff was delayed 30 and 15 minutes respectively due to fans being unable to get into the ground.
The new ticketing system caused endless queues long after the scheduled kickoff time arrived in what was a frustrating experience for supporters on their long-awaited return to Anfield.
Liverpool first issued an apology before then providing further guidance to make for a smoother experience on Monday, a delay was still required but valuable lessons learned.
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Now, the club is “committed to doing everything possible to maintain full capacity crowds at Anfield and further enhance supporters’ experience entering the stadium” for the new season.
With Burnley the next test of the technology on August 21, there is considerable time to conduct a review and seek best practice to ensure another delay is avoided, as Phil Dutton, vice-president of ticketing and hospitality, 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.
“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.”
Supporters will be informed of any changes in due course, with the digital technology here to stay as the Premier League look to increase safety by reducing contact through tickets in the wake of the pandemic.