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World Cup Security Plans Set


Security issues always play a role at major sporting events and that is no different for next month's World Cup football finals in Germany.

The month-long quadrennial World Cup is set to kick-off on June 9, but many of the security arrangements for football's most prestigious event are already in place and have even been tested. Germany hosted the eight-nation Confederations Cup football tournament last year and most security measures that will be used for the 32-nation World Cup went through a successful dry run.

According to Germany's Ministry of the Interior, which is coordinating all the security efforts, there will be an estimated 3.2 million spectators for the World Cup, with one million coming from outside the country. All will want to feel safe, as will the team delegations, the thousands of accredited journalists, and the local citizens who will be mingling with the visitors throughout the country during the month-long tournament.

Previously violent fans were registered on police data banks and were not able to purchase tickets for the matches. And with two layers of fencing ringing the stadiums and visible police presence, World Cup security official Willy Kosling told VOA Sports that fans with tickets should not have to worry about hooliganism.

"It's not a problem coming up to the stadiums," said Willy Kosling. "The stadiums should be very safe. The security is on a very high level there. They [hooligans] don't have any chance, we think, to come into the stadiums. If they are violent, they are well known. We have policemen who know the violent part of the fans, [know what to look for] and so it's very difficult for them to come in."

In addition, Kosling says video cameras that will constantly be monitored will also aid in security efforts.

"You have complete video surveillance in the stadium and you have the possibility to have video surveillance outside in special task police cars," he said. "That's necessary."

And the likelihood of World Cup tickets falling into the wrong hands has been made almost impossible, because for the first time all the tickets sold are personalized, so only the buyer and his guests can get through the control points with a valid identification.

Willy Kosling says German officials acknowledge that public viewing areas of the matches on large video screens in many locations throughout the country will not be as secure as being in one of the stadiums.

"We are well prepared for that danger, I must say," noted Willy Kosling. "We have many policemen prepared for these situations and it's where many policemen will be located at these main points. You can't avoid [prevent] violent fans from coming up to these places, to these public places. You often don't have the possibility to make security at the 100-percent level and you need thousands and thousands of policemen to control the situations there."

Above all, even with tight security measures, security press officer Christian Sachs told VOA Sports the Germans do not want the festive atmosphere of the World Cup to suffer.

"Security is important, but of course from our point of view, should not be the top priority of this world cup," said Christian Sachs. "The top priority of this World Cup on the outside, for the public, for the fans, for the guests from all over the world, the players, for the teams, should be, it's a big party."

And football fans across the world can hardly wait for the big party to begin.

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