Huge crowds, excessive alcohol consumption, and 'serial pests'

DGiannetti's picture

All in a day's work for security professionals that are responsible for ensuring large scale entertainment venues are safe for spectators, entertainers and staff.

The mix of 90,000 emotionally charged sporting fans, many of which have combined consuming alcohol with spurring on their team, is enough to keep the most experienced security manager awake at night. Now add to that the local 'serial pest' and you have the perfect storm for an incident packed sporting event.

Every long suffering Australian soccer fan has etched in their memories, the disastrous world cup qualifier played against Iran in 1997. A packed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) hosted Australia's final qualifier. At that point, Australia was 2-0 ahead with 25 minutes to go, and well on their way to qualification after 23 years. Seemingly out of nowhere, a 'serial pest' infamously known for disrupting high profile funerals and leading sporting events in Australia, ran onto the pitch and tore down part of the goal net at the Iran scoring end.

All in a day's work for security professionals that are responsible for ensuring large scale entertainment venues are safe for spectators, entertainers and staff. The mix of 90,000 emotionally charged sporting fans, many of which have combined consuming alcohol with spurring on their team, is enough to keep the most experienced security manager awake at night. Now add to that the local 'serial pest' and you have the perfect storm for an incident packed sporting event.

Every long suffering Australian soccer fan has etched in their memories, the disastrous world cup qualifier played against Iran in 1997. A packed Melbourne Cricket Ground (MCG) hosted Australia's final qualifier. At that point, Australia was 2-0 ahead with 25 minutes to go, and well on their way to qualification after 23 years. Seemingly out of nowhere, a 'serial pest' infamously known for disrupting high profile funerals and leading sporting events in Australia, ran onto the pitch and tore down part of the goal net at the Iran scoring end. This resulted in the suspension of play, which many believe caused the shift in momentum that allowed Iran to level the match in the space of four minutes at 2-2, and qualify for the 1998 Football World Cup.

A lot has changed since that ill-fated night, with many Australian entertainment venues including the MCG, adopting all encompassing security management overhauls that help to combat the many security concerns that can arise at these major events. Security managers at these venues site many requirements from their security systems, but the key factor in selection is the flexibility of their systems to prevent and then appropriately manage incidents. HID's VertX hardware has recently been selected and successfully installed at the MCG.

The HID VertX system was selected as a result of its open architecture, interoperability with the MCG's existing systems and the ability to continue operating with or without the selected host, in this case Genetec's Synergis software. While HID's VertX hardware is only a part of the overall security solution for the MCG, it has a pivotal role to play in managing access control especially when the capacity 100,000 spectators and staff are in attendance.

For the long suffering Australian soccer fans, Australia has since qualified for the 2006 and 2010 world cup finals and no 'serial pests' have resurfaced.