Football fans shut out as power cut freezes smartcard turnstiles

More than 30,000 football fans were locked out of Glasgow Rangers' Ibrox stadium on Saturday as the club's smartcard access...

More than 30,000 football fans were locked out of Glasgow Rangers' Ibrox stadium on Saturday as the club's smartcard access system was rendered useless by a power cut.

The match against Dundee was delayed by 50 minutes as fans were forced to find alternative entrances to the 42 out of 104 turnstiles that support smartcards. The gates became inoperable after the club failed to find an immediate back-up power source for the system.

Martin Bain, commercial director at Rangers Football Club, was quick to defend the club's smartcard system. "The problem was with a power cut," he said. "People always relate problems to technology, but technology was not to blame here. Rangers has as robust a computer system as any football club in the country and all our computer systems are backed-up."

The incident underlines the need to include access to alternative power supplies in any business continuity plan.

One Rangers fan who was at Saturday's match said, "It seemed to be a total meltdown in the [access] system, although we were kept well-informed of what was happening.

"We were left waiting for an hour and everyone was well behaved - but the club was lucky. Had the weather been worse or had we been playing one of our main rivals things could have been different."

Rangers was one of the first clubs to bring in a smartcard entrance system, phasing its introduction over the past two years

"The use of smartcards makes life much easier for the fans," said Bain. "For example, as soon as we know who we are playing in the Scottish Cup and European matches the tickets are put onto fans' smartcards."

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