Red card for violence in soccer

Spectators involved in robberies and fights or with ties to drug dealing are prevented from entering Uruguay’s Centenario stadium thanks to a facial recognition system

"We thought it would be very complex, or that it would take a long time to see a drop in the violence occurring at each match. However, from the very start the camera system worked perfectly, allowing us to control access for people who were barred from entering; it prevented them from gaining access.” Andrea Lanfranco, Executive Secretary General of the Uruguayan Football Association.


Stadium security during matches has been a critical factor for many years. It’s also been something that is difficult for clubs, security forces and soccer associations to control. Robberies, fights and drug dealers are some of the most significant issues in Uruguay. These problems have kept peaceful and family-oriented fans away from this sporting spectacle. That’s why the Ministry of the Interior decided to install security cameras in stadiums and gave the Uruguayan Football Association (AUF) four months to implement it.


In order to efficiently monitor what happens in the different areas of the stadium, which has a capacity for 63,000 spectators, the integrator H&O Tecnología Integrada positioned 15 AXIS Q6055-E Network Cameras in the grandstands and box seating sections, along with 41 AXIS P1365-E Network Cameras in the entrances. The entrance area cameras are integrated with Herta Security software to allow facial recognition of fans. At each game played at Centenario, security operations receives automatic alerts generated by a cross-check of criminal data that checks for troublemakers or people who are banned from the stadium, thanks to a unified list maintained by the Uruguayan Football Association, the Ministry of the Interior, and the soccer clubs. This makes it possible to identify 25 faces per second and take the necessary measures. In this regard, Centenario stadium is a pioneer in the use of facial recognition technology in the region.


In addition to preventing the entry of people with a recent history of violence in stadiums, the new system is changing the behavior of soccer spectators in Uruguay. After seeing as many as 200 people detained in different incidents at the same football match, the number has been reduced to 10 arrests on average per match. People now know that if something happens there will be evidence and consequences. This new context has encouraged families with children and seniors—who little by little had abandoned the stands because they felt unsafe—to return to enjoying football matches.

Related links

AXIS P1365-E Network Camera
AXIS Q6055-E PTZ Network Camera
Stadiums & venues