Picking your lines of defence


Over 1.4 million people pass through the turnstiles of the top 92 English League clubs every week during the football season. On match days, stadiums are geared up to move fans in and out of the main spectator areas quickly and safely. Staff and stewards focus on enabling access to permitted ticket holders and are alert to the unauthorised movement of fans.

However, modern football stadiums are multi-purpose buildings, which are frequently open to members of the public at times other than match days. From children’s birthday parties to conferencing and hospitality, clubs strive to maximise the multiple sources of revenue available to them using the space at their disposal. Controlling the movement of groups of visitors once inside the stadium, without the help of hundreds of stewards, is something that cannot be overlooked.

The challenge for clubs is how to restrict areas in the stadium complex to the public without hindering the free access of authorised personnel.

The key to access control

Traditional key-operated locks offer good levels of security when the keys can be properly managed. However, key management becomes more problematic as the number of key holders increases. Every time a key is lost the lock (and keys) should be replaced to maintain security. When a key holder leaves, the club has to decide whether it’s necessary to go to the trouble of changing the locks to guard against the use of unauthorised keys.

Although the use of key-operated locks may seem to be the obvious solution to controlling access, managing multiple key holders who have access to multiple locks can quickly get out of hand.

Key substitutes

Many clubs are looking to replace their locks and keys with more convenient and modern methods of door entry. Access control products act as a “red light” and help deter unauthorised entry in areas that need to be kept off limits to the public.

Card entry systems offer plenty of control and sophisticated audit trail features. The systems are, however, expensive to install, as they have to be ‘wired in’ to provide both power and communications to each door; retrofitting wired access in any building is disruptive and expensive.

A keyless digital door lock is a standalone access control product that offers greater functionality over traditional locks and keys. Access through the door is achieved by entering a code on the keypad. If you don’t have the code, you can’t get through the door.

Easy to manage

To use keyless digital door locks, the club issues codes to authorised members of staff for entry to rooms with restricted access, like concessions stands, the trophy room, medical rooms, offices or areas where equipment is stored. If a staff member leaves, the code can be reset and issued again. Making regular access code changes will ensure a digital door lock remains effective and help deter the misuse of codes.

There may be certain areas in the stadium that need to be freely accessible on match days; the directors’ boxes or the team changing rooms, for example. Digital door locks have a ‘code-free’ mode, whereby a member of staff can open the lock before the match by entering the code and then put the lock into ‘code free’ mode so that the VIPs or players can come and go during and after the match.

Easy to programme

Keyless digital door locks are either mechanical or electronic in operation. Most mechanical locks have to be removed from the door before the code can be changed, which takes about 10-15 minutes to complete. Although an electronic lock is more expensive to buy, the codes can be changed in minutes without having to be taken off the door, which saves a great deal of time in maintenance.

Unlocking the potential

Year on year the electronic capability of keyless digital locks becomes increasingly more sophisticated. The high-end electronic locks can now perform functions only previously available in more expensive wired-access systems, so it’s no wonder we have seen a rise in their popularity.

Compared to lock and keys, the products offer a much greater level of convenience and control. There are many applications in football stadiums where digital keyless locks can provide a cost-effective and manageable level of access control, without the hassle of using keys.



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