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World Cup Security

May 01, 20063 mins
Critical InfrastructureCSO and CISOPhysical Security

Germans field defensive lineup to secure World Cup tournament.

A ticket is not enough to get you into Berlin’s reconstructed Olympic Stadium for this summer’s World Cup final, or any of the other 11 spruced up venues for the quadrennial soccer championship that runs June 9 to July 9.

Organizers have systems in place to prevent everything from counterfeit tickets to brawls in the stands to terrorist threats against teams from the United States and the Middle East. Stadiums throughout Germany are new or were reconstructed to satisfy security standards set by the Cup-awarding soccer body FIFA, the Fédération Internationale de Football Association.

Each stadium will have an inner and outer security perimeter. At the outer perimeter, the lucky 3.3 million fans who have tickets will undergo a physical search and then walk through a metal detector. Once at the inner perimeter, patrons will present their tickets for validation; systems here will use RFID chips, bar codes and holographic images to authenticate the tickets.

These zones, the stadiums and the International Broadcast Center, will have 10,000 surveillance monitors and televisions. Between 750 and 1,500 police and security guards will be on hand at each match, according to FIFA. And the German organizing committee is expected to spend $29.9 million on stadium security out of a total budget of $231 million, Reuters reported.

The Stat: 750 – 1500

Number of police and security guards that will be on hand at each World Cup soccer match in Germany, according to FIFA

With 7 million visitors expected to descend on Germany, and with Europe’s history of soccer hooliganism, the spending figure reflects extra steps World Cup organizers are taking to manage risks at the matches. For example, each ticket’s RFID chip also contains the order and seat number, as well as each fan’s team loyalty information, which will be used to keep fans of opposing clubs separate from the outset of the match, reported. (Emotions can run hot should Brazil meet Italy, say, or if England faces Argentina.) Bar codes, meanwhile, let security staff verify the ticket’s information with the attendee’s passport or photo ID. The ticket database is cross-referenced with databases of so-called soccer hooligans from Germany, Britain and the Netherlands, according to German news site Heise Online.

Police and security managers are working beyond the stadiums, at the public viewing areas in host cities around the country, where tens of thousands of fans are expected to gather. Hundreds of police in riot gear will be at these telecast screenings. Other moves include stationing a small number of German officers at British seaports to screen out fans with a record of disorderly conduct; and providing extra protection to teams from Iran and Saudi Arabia, whose governments fear attacks.

With German police details stretched thin for the World Cup, private security firms will also be providing ancillary security for 32 team quarters and in downtown areas in the 12 cities where matches are taking place.