The English Football League has apologised to a Hull City fan who claimed he was asked to stop texting or face ejection from a game.
Daniel Mawer tweeted a lengthy thread after Hull’s win against Reading on Saturday after an “undercover security guard” approached him at half-time.
He was spoken to as part of spot checks into unauthorised data gathering at EFL matches.
Mawer, 28, told BBC Sport he was “shocked” by the initial approach.
Hull City are now liaising with both Mawer, the club’s own security company Superstadium Management and Comsec, a company hired by Football Data Co to monitor the collection and distribution of official match data.
“The Comsec scout spotting programme is managed by Football Data Co in collaboration with the league and its clubs,” said an EFL spokesman.
“Access is provided at matches for Comsec representatives to operate and identify potential infringements.
“On initial review of this particular incident all procedures and protocols were followed, but clearly there is still some work to be done to ensure these checks are conducted appropriately and sensitively.
“It’s never the intention to offend and for that Football Data Co and the League offer its apologies to the supporter affected by this random spot check.”
In a statement, Hull City also said they would investigate how the check was handled and how the scout spotting programme could be improved at the KCOM Stadium.
Unauthorised data gathering – or ‘courtsiding’ as it is known in other sports – is the practice of transmitting information from sporting events for the purpose of gambling or of placing bets directly from a sporting event.
Daniel’s experience was widely shared on social media, including by Match of the Day Presenter Gary Lineker on Saturday, who tweeted: “This is nuts.”
“I’ve had quite a lot of messages of support since it happened,” said the Hull season ticket holder. “I feel it’s something that needed highlighting as I wasn’t sure how widespread these checks are.
“I was just texting a few friends and relatives who can’t make it to games these days, just the odd update on how the game was going.
“I was mainly telling my girlfriend what I thought of Hull forward Tom Eaves’ haircut.”
The Football Supporters’ Association were among those to tweet support to Daniel.
“It’s not that people are being asked at grounds about potential suspicious activity; it’s how they’re being approached that concerns us,” director of case work Amanda Jacks told BBC Sport.
“It’s also a bit disappointing Hull’s response doesn’t included the word ‘alleged’ when speaking about Daniel’s experience.
“We understand people have a job to do and some people unfortunately do go to games with the intention of manipulating betting markets.
“But we believe this is a very small minority of the hundreds of thousands who attend matches across the country every weekend.”