ESSMA Stadium Industry Awards: nominees Safety & Security

ESSMA launches the Stadium Industry Awards: These prestigious awards are designed to celebrate and honour the best initiatives in the stadium industry across various categories. Over the past weekend, members could submit their case. In this article, we highlight all nominated projects from the 'Safety & Security' category. Discover all the cases below and cast your vote now! The winners will be announced at our ESSMA Summit 2024during an award ceremony at the Johan Cruijff ArenA in Amsterdam. 

Cast your vote here 

Nominees in the 'Safety & Security' category

1. Safety initiative for group of functional diversity – Real Betis, Spain

Challenge: Real Betis Balompie aimed to ensure the safety of spectators with physical, mental, or sensory disabilities, recognising the need for specific measures in case of emergencies. The challenge was to create an inclusive Self-Protection Plan for the Benito Villamarín Stadium to address these specific needs.

Initiative: The initiative focuses on creating an inclusive Self-Protection Plan to ensure the safe and dignified evacuation of individuals with functional diversity in emergencies. Key phases of the initiative include:

  • Identifying the various groups of functional diversity within the stadium.
  • Identifying the needs of these groups during emergencies.
  • Assessing risks using an inclusive methodology.
  • Collaborating with entities like LALIGA's Security Department and the State Security Forces and Corps.
  • Organising human resources, developing evacuation protocols, and conducting training for the Alarm and Evacuation Team.
  • Carrying out inclusive evacuation simulations with the participation of spectators with various disabilities.

Innovation & Inclusivity:

  • The initiative goes beyond typical safety plans by addressing the specific needs of individuals with functional diversity during emergencies.
  • It provides an inclusive approach to ensuring the safety and dignity of all fans, raising awareness about the importance of inclusive emergency plans.


  • The initiative has not only established an inclusive Self-Protection Plan for the stadium but has also raised awareness in society about the importance of such plans.
  • Collaboration and coordination with State Security forces, health companies, Civil Protection, and fire brigades to include people with functional diversity in emergency plans.
  • Promotion of new projects offered by external non-profit organisations to address social challenges in emergency situations.

The initiative focuses on the safety and well-being of all spectators, demonstrating a commitment to inclusivity and diversity.

2. Improving safety facilities and spectator security after promotion 2nd league – Racing Club de Ferrol, Spain

Challenge: Racing Club de Ferrol faced the challenge of transforming the Municipal Stadium of A Malata to meet safety, accessibility, and regulatory requirements. This transformation was essential for the club's promotion to the second division of LALIGA, given the neglect of maintenance during years in lower football categories.

Initiative: The initiative aims to address the deficiencies identified through audits by LALIGA to ensure the stadium can safely host professional matches. This includes improvements in access, seating, emergency signage, spectator protection, spectator services, and other structural elements. The key phases of the initiative include addressing issues in access, permanence, spectator protection, and services to spectators.

Innovation & Inclusivity:

  • The initiative involves a collaborative effort between Racing Club de Ferrol, the City Council, and the Xunta de Galicia.
  • It prioritizes safety, accessibility, and infrastructure, not just the sporting aspect of the project.
  • Comprehensive documentation and plans, including self-protection, preventive health, safety protocols, individual risk plans, and more, are developed.


  • The 2023/2024 sports season saw a significant increase in subscribers, with 8,613 subscribers compared to 3,702 in the previous season.
  • The club achieved promotion to the second division and began its league matches with a renovated, accessible, and safer stadium in August 2023.
  • This initiative reflects the commitment to safety and accessibility, ensuring that fans can enjoy matches in a secure and enhanced stadium environment.

3. Biometric access solution – KAA Gent, Belgium

Objective: Ensure a secure and efficient access control system while enhancing the fan experience in a stadium environment.

Technology: PALMKI - Biometric access control using unique palm vein patterns.


  • Fans register once at the football club premises, linking hashed PALMKI code with personal data in the system.
  • Access rights are tied to the fan's hand per match.
  • Access is controlled by offering the hand to a PALMKI sensor integrated into turnstiles or speed gates.
  • No need for tickets, accessories, or identification.


  • Green light indicates valid access; the speed gate opens.
  • Red light denies access for those with a stadium ban or no valid entrance pass.
  • Significantly reduces manual checks by stewards.


1. For the Club:

  • 100% certainty that banned individuals cannot enter.
  • Reduced fan frustration with shorter wait times.
  • More efficient steward deployment.
  • Faster fan flow through access points.

2. For the Fan:

  • Improved fan experience.
  • VIP-like treatment, enhancing fan satisfaction and comfort.


  • Registration takes only 16 seconds.
  • Registration remains valid for multiple seasons with subscription renewals.
  • Inactive or easily removable codes for non-subscribers.

This innovative PALMKI biometric access control system offers an unparalleled solution for stadium access management, benefiting both clubs and fans alike.

Cast your vote here 

Posted on 22/11/2023 in: