Digital health passports posited to help sport fans return to stadiums

By Ellen Daniel

Cyber technology firm VST Enterprises has put forward pilot programmes to the UK Government that could help fans return to live sport using digital health passports.

The English Premier League restarted on 17 June, but matches were played behind closed doors. In a recent briefing, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced that stadiums in the UK could open from October following safety trials, a move that would have a significant impact on the UK’s 24bn sports economy.

Fans are Back: Using digital health passports to support a return to sport

Named the Fans are Back plan, the Manchester-based company has presented a way for fans to safety return to stadiums to the Department Of Culture Media & Sport.

The pilot would involve randomly selected fans who would attend a Fans are Back event. The fans would be instructed to download the V-Health Passport, a digital health passport, onto their phones, and confirm their identity by uploading a form of official ID, which would then be verified.

The participants would then be tested for Covid-19 using rapid testing kits, which are able to produce results in ten minutes. Their status, indicated by a colour coded system in which red indicates a positive test and green indicates a negative test, would then be linked to a digital health passport, as well as the date of the test.

The participants would then be instructed to self-isolate overnight before attending a pilot match the following day, in which fans will present their V-Health Passports to be scanned by security staff while adhering to social distancing.

If given the go-ahead, the pilot will be overseen by event safety company HALO Solutions, and testing will be carried out by Latus Health and Infinite Global Possibilities. VSTE and its partner Redstrike will provide the secure digital health passport.

Unlike contact tracing, location data is not required. All data generated is protected using end-to-end encryption.

“A significant and positive way in ensuring that spectator sports can resume in the UK”

According to V-Health, the pilot has received support from former Sports Minister Richard Caborn.

“This is exactly what the Government need to be encouraging sports administrators to adopt for fans to be safe in coming back into the sports stadiums and major events,” said Caborn, who served as Minister Of Sport from 2001-2007.

“By running the Fans are Back test pilot programme this will allow the football and rugby clubs to trial a program of rapid testing and using a V-Health Passport to confirm and authorise a persons Covid status.

“In my opinion it is a significant and positive way in ensuring that spectator sports can resume in the UK where we test test test and use a health passport to validate that test result. That is the only way we can ensure that sports fans are safely entering a stadium as test negative.”

Digital health passports have been touted as a way of allowing large-scale events, such as football or rugby matches, to go ahead safety, but have also proved controversial, with some arguing that allowing individuals to access certain services or places based on their health status could open up the possibility of discrimination.

Other companies are also exploring the use of testing and health passports at sporting events. For example, in June digital health company Prenetics launched a health passport for fans.

Read more: Coronavirus digital health passport to be supplied to 15 countries.