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Security must always be a prime consideration when organising a FIFA World Cup™. But in view of the current state of world affairs, and with the terrorist attacks in the USA on 11 September 2001 still so fresh in everybody's memory, FIFA, the organising committees (KOWOC and JAWOC), and the Korean and Japanese governments have introduced a number of measures especially for the 2002 FIFA World Cup™.

ast year's terrorist attacks in the USA have also had a decisive influence on the 2002 FIFA World Cup™. But the tragic events in New York and Washington gave those responsible for safety at the FIFA World Cup™ a poignant reminder that nobody and nowhere is immune to such barbarism. Consequently, the two national governments and KOWOC/JAWOC have all taken steps to increase the level of security surrounding the upcoming FIFA World Cup™. Approximately 55,000 security personnel will be employed for the duration of the tournament – 35,000 in Korea and 20,000 in Japan.

A hooligan is arrested during football-related disturbances – such scenes will hopefully not be repeated in Korea and Japan. Photo: Allsport
"Compared to the last World Cup in 1998, we have more than doubled the safety provisions for this event," said Walter Gagg, FIFA Director for technical matters, safety and stadia. He also stressed that world football's governing body is not unduly worried about terrorist attacks during the tournament, saying, "Unlike the Summer Olympic Games of 1972 and 1996, the sport of football has never been the target of terrorists. I am sure that this World Cup will be no different."

But nobody could accuse FIFA officials of naivety, as they are all too aware of the current precarious state of world affairs. Which is why they have worked around the clock with KOWOC and JAWOC to draw up measures to ensure the highest possible level of security for everyone concerned.

Korea and Japan have not exactly been passive either. As a general rule, the two national governments are responsible for security at the 2002 FIFA World Cup™ finals. For example, Korea are giving serious thought to placing surface-to-air missiles in the vicinity of their ten World Cup stadia. Although FIFA do not regard this as strictly necessary, they will leave the final decision to those who are ultimately responsible - the Korean Government. There will also be a no-fly zone over each of the Korean stadia for the duration of the tournament.

Korean police in Seoul rehearse special operations for dealing with serious incidents of hooliganism at the World Cup finals. Photo: Reuters
But one thing is for sure – the 32 teams will be watched around the clock while they are in either or both of the two Asian countries. In view of recent events, security will also be stepped up for the USA team. Although each team will be accompanied by their own security officer, they will also have another KOWOC or JAWOC officer at their disposal. There will also be an unspecified number of safety officials working for the two governments to ensure the safety of the teams. As Gagg said, "It is imperative that these officials are in the background, virtually invisible, but ready to spring into action if and when required."

Their main duty will be to protect the officials, coaches, players and backroom staff of the teams, but they will also be responsible for ensuring that the team bus can manoeuvre the heavy traffic in Korea and Japan as quickly as possible. This is also true for the referees, VIP guests and FIFA officials.

Daniel Nivel
The victim of a brutal physical assault by hooligans during the 1998 FIFA World Cup France™, French policeman Daniel Nivel still suffers the physical and psychological effects of the attack. This regrettable incident gave Egidius Braun, former President of the German Football Association, the idea to set up a foundation, with the aim of investigating violence in football, introducing preventive measures to eliminate its presence, and providing support for the victims of violent attacks.
Based in Basle (Switzerland), the Daniel Nivel Foundation was officially founded in August 2000, thanks to the efforts of FIFA and UEFA, together with the French and German Football Associations, and the German FA's sports promotion club. The Chairman of the Board of the Directors of the Daniel Nivel Foundation is FIFA President Joseph S. Blatter.
FIFA, UEFA and the national associations involved all make regular financial contributions to the foundation.
Unfazed by hooligans
FIFA, who will have eight security officials at their disposal, first discussed the issue of safety at the tournament during an inspection visit to the two host countries in May 2001. The months that followed saw a number of scheduled meetings with both KOWOC and JAWOC, where priceless information and experiences were exchanged. These were not closed meetings, however, as representatives of both governments were also present. Korea and Japan have also made praiseworthy efforts to combat the hooligan problem, discussing the matter at close quarters with the most affected countries and associations, such as England and Germany for example.

Gagg, however, has many reasons to believe that there will be no reoccurrence of the hooligan problem at this FIFA World Cup™, stressing that, "Immigration control in both Korea and Japan is very strict indeed, and any suspicious persons will immediately be refused entry. Korea and Japan are the two safest countries in the world."

But Gagg also thinks there is another reason. The costs of travel and accommodation in Asia alone are sure to deter many potential troublemakers.

Having said that, the authorities will be keeping a close eye on certain matches, such as England v Argentina and the matches involving Germany, for example, and the security forces will be reinforced considerably for these showdowns. FIFA is still confident that the riots that plagued previous FIFA World Cups™ in 1990 and 1998 will not grab headlines in Korea and Japan. "That just will not happen this time," commented Gagg.

However, to ensure that they can enjoy an exciting and attractive FIFA World Cup™, spectators must expect a thorough body search before they can enter the stadium. For this reason alone, organisers urge fans to arrive at least 90 minutes before kick-off, with the many entrance gates open three hours in advance of the first blast on the referee's whistle.


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