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April 4, 2005

2006 World Cup sports RFID technology

Fans attending next year's World Cup soccer tournament in Germany will get a first hand taste of RFID (radio frequency identification) technology in action when they pick up their tickets.

By CBR Staff Writer

FIFA organizers say the 2.9m tickets being issued for matches next summer will include embedded RFID smart tag chips to track holders through the turnstiles.

Organizers say they have yet to formally announce a main technology partner. But Dutch electronics giant Philips, which is a main sponsor of the tournament, is thought to head-up the running to supply the RFID chips.

It is the first time that RFID chips are being used at a major sporting event. Organizers expect the use of RFID to provide greater security at entry gates and deter the counterfeiting of tickets which have plagued past events.

Opponents of RFID however argue that the tracking capabilities of RFID tags impinge on personal liberties, saying that conventional barcodes are sufficient. But a FIFA spokesman insisted the RFID chips will not contain any personal data, only a number that identifies each ticket holder.

Each ticket holder is required to formally register to buy tickets.

If things go well in Germany, RFID’s use at popular sporting events could become commonplace and will give the technology a major fillip. Most of the early applications of RFID have been targeted at the retail and supply chains.

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