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UPS for VAR Systems and Generators for Football Stadiums
Football stadiums are reliant on several types of IT and critical system technologies that require backup power protection for safety and continuity. Critical systems include Video Assistant Referee (VAR) systems, ticketing systems, IT networks, communications, access control, security, fire control, disabled access, lifts, flood, and emergency lighting. Solutions from Server Room Environments include UPS systems and standby power generators.
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UPS Backup Power Protection for Football Stadium IT and Security Systems

Business continuity and security are vital the safe running of events within football systems due to their size and the number of people that can be present at any one time. We provide a wide range of UPS systems and generating sets that can be used to deliver ‘turn-key’ installations to keep IT networks, security camera systems, event management and access control systems operational up to several hours.

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Backup Power for VAR Systems

One of the biggest technologies to impact football matches in recent years is Video Assistant Referees (VAR), used to help match officials make more consistent and accurate decisions. VAR technology is not new. Developed originally by the Royal Netherlands Football Association, VAR systems made their debut at the 2018 FIFA World Cup.

A VAR system converges IT and video camera systems to provide the imagery and data required to review football matches in play. A power failure can interrupt this data capture and analysis, resulting in loss of system uptime. A VAR system will consist of the following:

  • High-Definition Cameras: to capture video footage of the match from around the stadium and provide the VAR team and match officials with camera angles to review any match incident. The cameras will be DC powered, and a UPS used to protect the AC/DC power supply and data capture systems working with them.
  • Video Recording System: central to a VAR system is the ability to store camera feeds for playback and analysis. A typical CCTV system uses a DVR/NVR device to store the datfa digitally and this should be UPS protected to ensure continuity of recording. The storage device(s) will rack mounted in a server cabinet.
  • Video Monitors: high-definition video monitors are used to analysis video footage from the cameras and require backup power protection. The video monitors used as part of the stadium control room’s CCTV system also require backup to allow continuous monitoring, especially if there is a stadium incident or need evacuate.
  • Decision Making Software: aside from the hardware, VAR systems use specialist software for analysis and decision making that can track ball, player, and official positions.
  • Communication systems: match officials and referees, on-field and in the VAR room must have reliable communications protected by a backup power UPS system.
  • Digital Signage: the VAR team uses digital signage to communicate reviews and decision. Signage may also be installed to communicate decisions and messages to the wider match attendees.

The UK Premier League introduced VAR technology in the 2019/2020 season and the technology continues to improve and now includes goal-line technology. This uses sensors and cameras to determine when a football has crossed the line. VAR and goal-line technologies help referees and match officials to make more accurate decisions. Decisions based on data.

As an IT, digital camera, and sensor-based system VAR and goal-line systems can go off-line if there is a power outage or mains power supply failure. This was highlighted in the October 2022 Arsenal game which had to be stopped following a power cut. The match interrupted for 10 minutes as it could not continue and added to this is the fact that VAR devices can take up to 30 minutes to reboot, recalibrate and be brought back online. Following the incident FIFA called on all Premier League clubs to look at their backup power plans including uninterruptible power supplies (UPS) for VAR equipment and their IT systems in general.

Other critical systems requiring backup power in a football stadium include their server rooms, ticketing systems, IT networks, communications, access control, security, fire control, disabled access, lifts, flood, and emergency lighting. The load mixture requires a well-thought-out back-up power plan that can include both distributed single-phase UPS and larger 3phase UPS systems and standby power generators.

Generator Power for Football Stadiums

Football stadium power demands range from small single-phase loads that can be protected with rackmount and tower-based floor standing uninterruptible power supplies, to plant rooms and lighting systems that whose power demands will run into the hundreds of kVA.

For larger loads, similar to data centres, a centralised UPS system may be installed to protect the critical power loads. The battery backup may be sized for 10-30minutes and be supported for longer runtimes using a standby generator. The generating set has an internal fuel tank sized to last up to 8hours or more (load dependent) allowing the football club to ride through long duration power cuts, and even planned power outages. The generator can also be used to provide backup power to essential loads including emergency and flood lighting systems, and those required to evacuate a stadium safely.

Site Surveys for UPS Installation and Standby Power Generator Projects

The Projects Team at Server Room Environments can design a suitable power protection plan for an entire football club to protect its IT systems and other essential services. An initial assessment is made following a site survey, leading to an outline design and project review. Furthermore, we provide a complete installation and maintenance service for UPS systems, energy storage solutions and standby power generators.


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