Former sports minister Caborn praises ‘fans are back’ plan

A Manchester-based cyber technology firm has put forward pilot programmes to the UK Government’s Department of Culture Media & Sport (DCMS) and the prime minister’s office to help get rugby fans back into stadiums following Boris Johnson’s announcement to get stadiums open in October.

The pilot programmes called ‘fans are back’ which are widely regarded as game-changing in getting sports fans back into stadiums have also been given the blessing of former sports minister Richard Caborn.

The pilot programmes will use the most advanced COVID-19 rapid testing kits which produce test results in 10 minutes along with GDPR compliant digital health passports to authenticate and validate COVID-19 test results. Unlike contact tracing apps used by the Government, the V-Health passport does not track or trace a person’s live location or breach personal privacy protocols and ensures that personal data is secure using the most advanced security protocols and encryption.

VST Enterprises Ltd (VSTE), a leading British technology company along with its sports partners REDSTRIKE, public safety and event management partners Halo Solutions and occupational health care company Latus Health have put forward active pilot proposals to DCMS to get Rugby union and Rugby league fans back into sports stadiums across the UK in a safe and controlled manner.

‘Fans are back’ pilot programs will cover rugby and snooker initially working with DCMS, Public Health England, SGSA (Sports Ground Safety Authority) and the various bodies including the Premier League, RFU, RFL and World Snooker. Upon its successful trials, other pilot programs will then be rolled-out across music concerts, theatre, and other entertainment venues.

The pilot programmes will see a sample group of between 5005000 home fans tested a day before a specially designated rugby match using a COVID-19 rapid test kit. Each testing kit will also be provided with an ultra-secure digital health passport to be used on the fans’ mobile phone called V-Health passport. The ultra-secure digital passport will authenticate and validate the fans COVID-19 status.

The V-Health passport is a unique cybersecurity technology app powered by the ultra-secure VCode which works alongside a COVID-19 testing kit to provide an intelligent traffic light system on a smart phone to authenticate a persons test status of positive or negative. Red indicates a positive test result, green indicates a negative test result, and amber indicates a countdown to the next test date required.

Unlike other technologies, V-Health passport does not use unsafe Bluetooth technology or compromise personal privacy and security. It provides a unique verification of a person’s health test and status. All private data is limited and ultra-secure with end to end encryption using closed-loop technology and making the passport unhackable.

The ‘fans are back’ pilot programmes will be overseen by event safety team HALO Solutions Ltd who have unrivalled expertise in public safety and event management. The team has extensive experience managing and supporting events such as the Cricket World Cup 2019, Isle of Wight Festivals, BBC Sports Personality of the Year to British Athletics providing event safety and management.

Medical administration and testing will be carried out by Latus Health and Infinite Global Possibilities who have extensive experience in occupational health for corporate and COVID-19 testing with clients ranging from investment bank JP Morgan to Morrison’s supermarkets.

How does pilot ‘fans are back’ work?

  • A test group of home fans will be selected by their rugby team to randomly attend the pilot ‘fans are back’ event. Each will be instructed to download the V-Health passport on their mobile phone before the testing day.
  • The fans will then enter their details, name, address, date of birth, phone number, doctors details on their V-Health passport and confirm their identity by uploading their official government ID on the form of passport or driver’s licence document. The uploaded documents are then verified against the phone’s facial recognition to match the details in a likeness test.
  • The sample group of fans will then be invited to attend and take a COVID-19 rapid test at a predefined location, by pre-booked appointment the day before the event. Upon arrival at the test site, they will be asked to present their V-Health passport for scanning and a temperature check will be taken before being directed to the COVID-19 test station.
  • The test takes one minute to administer with results in 10 minutes. The fans’ test status is then uploaded to their V-Health passport. It will then show a GDPR compliant screen when presented to officials for scanning, showing the fans official photograph and a green traffic light symbol to confirm negative test status and the date of the test.
  • A more in-depth and detailed screen can only be viewed by authorised medical staff. The fan is then advised to return home and self-isolate until the pilot matches the next day.
  • On match day the fans are then invited to return to the stadium and present their V-Health passport which is scanned by event security officials and stewards to confirm who they are and their valid V-Health passport and COVID-19 test status.
  • The V-Health passport can be scanned by officials up to 100 metres away in social distancing and while crowds are ingesting into an event, thus preventing choke points and bottlenecks on entry.
  • The details uploaded to the V-Health passport can also then be used for contact tracing purposes working with the NHSX teams if a person tested positive in the test day before the event.
  • All data from the pilot ‘fans are back’ event will then be fed back to DCMS, Public Health England and the NHS.
  • Latus Health Care along with Infinite Possibilities Global will administer the COVID-19 tests to fans using a three in one rapid test kit which tests for IgA, IgM and IgG.
  •  VSTE and its partners REDSTRIKE will provide the secure digital health passport V-Health passport to upload, validate, and authenticate the COVID-19 test status.
  • The BioSURE rapid COVID-19 test is the only antibody kit available which tests for IgA, IgM and IgG.
  • Manufactured in the UK, the CE certified and MHRA registered triple antibody test is able to identify if a person currently has COVID-19, or had a previous infection.
  • Providing qualitative results in under 10 minutes, this test is praised as a game-changer for the screening of high volumes of people to increase the efficiency of COVID-19 testing and crowd safety.
  • Unlike other technologies and health passports using bar codes and QR codes which are COVID-19 and able to be hacked, the V-Health passport is ultra-secure.
  • V-Health passport using the groundbreaking VCode technology which used closed-loop technology and end to end encryption with 2.2 quintillion combination codes making it unhackable. It can also be scanned from a distance of up to 100 metres on moving objects

The former sports minister Richard Caborn believes that the ‘fans are back’ pilot programmes will positively assist the Governments plans and gives confidence to the fans to allow stadiums safely to reopen again in October.

Caborn said: ‘This is exactly what the Government needs to be encouraging sports administrators to adopt for fans to be safe in coming back into the sports stadiums and major events. By running the ‘fans are back’  test pilot programme will allow the rugby clubs to trial a program of rapid testing and using a V-Health passport to confirm and authorise a person’s COVID-19 status.’

He added: ‘In my opinion, it is a significant and positive way in ensuring that spectator sports can resume in the UK where we 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 if the test is negative.’

Caborn, who served as minister of sport from 20012007, was one of the UK’s longest-serving sports ministers and hugely respected for his contribution to UK sport. He was also appointed by Gordon Brown as the prime minister’s ambassador for England’s 2018 World Cup bid.

VSTE is also providing its VCode & VPlatform technology to work with the United Nations as part of their SDG Collaboratory (Sustainable Development Goals) program to provide a wide range of technology services to nine billion people by 2030.


Image credit: Freepik