Sunday, June 6, 2010

'Private' Security Fails in pre-World Cup
Fan Stampede Outside Friendly

Less than a week out from the start of the World Cup, and the tournament is filthy with injuries, terror threats and now fans stampeding outside today's Nigeria-North Korea friendly.

This begs the question, a query that's been haunting this tournament since South Africa was selected years ago: Are the players and fans safe?

Suddenly, South Africa's rampant crime rates seem tame to the political turmoil and apparently lackadaisical attitude toward security. Today's tragedy that left 14 injured--a number that's surely to rise--is being blamed on the fact that the match was a friendly. Therefore, World Cup security was not on the job. Apparently the rules say it was Nigeria's match, they provide security. The Nigerians' crack private security team was, apparently, on crack today.

Fans rushed the gates twice trying to get into the grounds and people were run over like traffic cones during a teen's driver's license exam. Pitiful. Frightening.

What are we in for in the next month?

How does FIFA allow this? Again, a very legitimate question. How can FIFA just wash its hands of a friendly less than a week from the start of the event. What? "World Cup security" whatever that is, is too expensive for a friendly? Crowd control isn't important before the tournament? Ridiculous. FIFA proves again that it does not value the safety of its players, its product. The players and the game, and of course, the fans, are the core of the game. To allow private security to be in charge today is irresponsible and negligent. I dare say if Brazil was in a friendly against, oh, anyone, there would have been World Cup security on the grounds.

This is disgusting, and harkens back to the terrorism attack on Togo's players during the African Cup of Nations. Why would FIFA allow a national team to travel through war-torn roads by bus? Probably the same reason it would allow private security to be in charge less than a week out from the World Cup.

Say a prayer for this tournament; I hope this is the last such post I have to write in the next five weeks. We all do.

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Anonymous said...

You're really blowing this out of proportion. This WAS a friendly and per rules and regulations one of the teams is to provide security, in this case being Nigeria. I would not trust Nigerian security to run the World Cup, but the people that are in charge of World Cup security are COMPLETELY different and highly trained. So what, 14 people get injured in a big crowd over excitement, big deal. This could have happened anywhere.

Starting11 said...

That's really cold man, "So what, 14 people get injured..." You don't think that a week before the World Cup this is a big deal? You don't think there's been a microscope on South Africa and its security for the tournament? This is a big deal, sorry.

Anonymous said...

This has NOTHING to do with world cup security. It just so happens the friendly was in SA. It is not FIFA's job to provide security to friendlies.

It's crappy what happened, but should be no reflection of the WC security team nor a reflection of SA's ability to stage the WC.

Starting11 said...

It has everything to do with FIFA and World Cup security. Less than seven days from the tournament, you don't want people trampled in the streets. If you're FIFA, it's in your best interest to prevent that. What is so difficult to understand?