The UEFA Champions League is one of the world’s most watched and attended sporting events. Paramount to its success is the logistical operation that takes place behind the scenes on a UEFA competition match night. From their headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland, UEFA officials liaise with their counterparts across all match venues to ensure safety, security and a broadcast output of the highest quality. The Match Command Centre has fully proved its worth.
“We decided to establish the Match Command Centre for the 2008/09 season,” said UEFA’s deputy General Secretary, Giorgio Marchetti. “It is really a key feature, because it enables UEFA to be in full control of what’s happening on site. We have on-site staff at all of our matches, with match delegates, venue directors and other officers, but we need a kind of ‘remote control’ of what happens there.”
Those working at the various stadiums across Europe are able to send information to the Match Command Centre, while those in Nyon are also able to give feedback in order to make sure that all of UEFA’s regulations and standards are consistently being applied at UEFA matches across the continent.
“Before and during the match, we are looking at a variety of issues from a safety and security perspective. It could be pitch incursions: spectators coming onto the field of play, or it could be crowd disturbances involving either the home or away supporters,” commented Kenny Scott, UEFA head of safety and security operations.
The Match Command Centre has a pivotal role during high risk level security situations, which could potentially endanger the game going ahead. According to Marchetti, it allows for “an easy exchange of information,” thus keeping everyone, who is involved in operational aspects of the match, informed.
On a match night, TV and Broadcast operations staff monitor the world feed transmission and the production of graphics. With as many as 16 feeds being received at the same time, the system also allows UEFA to review highlighted specific incidents at various matches.
With a minimum of 14 host broadcaster cameras at every UEFA Champions League match – a number which can increase to 28 or 29 cameras at some games – each incident can be seen from a different camera angle. The broadcasters in their respective countries can use this extra material to complement their broadcast footage and their analysis.
“Also, very importantly, we use the Match Command Centre as a data-gathering place,” said Marchetti. “We collect all the pre-match and the post-match information, which is then stored by UEFA and passed to every relevant department or unit in order to help them compile various reports.”
The Match Command Centre is a great asset because it allows UEFA to have a full view of every match. The centre, which works as a communication hub, ensures that everyone has the same up-to-date level of information. It is used not only for the UEFA Champions League, but also for the UEFA Europa League, the European Qualifiers and the newly created UEFA Nations League.