Security to Be Increased at All World Cup Venues

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Riot police outside Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte. Credit: Reuters

DPA, RIO DE JANEIRO - World Cup security will be stepped up at all 12 venues, the ruling body FIFA said on Friday night after meetings with local organizers and Brazilian state authorities.

Private and public forces will see re-enforcements, with Rio de Janeiro authorities saying earlier in the day that their personnel will be strengthened by 600 officers for the next game at the Maracana between Belgium and Russia on Sunday.

The measures were taken after some 300 Chilean fans tried to force entry without tickets for the match against Spain on Tuesday via the Maracana media centre, leading to 87 arrests.

Some 30 Argentinian fans were arrested at the stadium on Sunday, after trying to enter the stadium without tickets for the game against Bosnia by climbing a wall.

“As a result of this evaluation, it was decided to reinforce security in the stadia perimeters (both physically and with personnel) and to increase the presence of public security on access control points as well as private security (stewards) inside the 12 stadiums,” the meeting participants said in a statement.

No numbers were given for the additional personnel.

State authorities are responsible outside the stadium perimeter, while football’s ruling body FIFA and the World Cup organizing committee have stewards inside.

The Chile versus Spain game was safeguarded by 1,037 stewards and 3,000 state security forces.

Earlier Friday, Rio officials announced the additional 600 officers and a reworked security concept.

The measures will apply for Sunday’s game, they said. The numbers may change again for upcoming matches at the Maracana, including the July 13 final. Sunday’s game is not considered a high-risk game.

The Estado de Sao Paulo paper said on its website Friday that the army contingent will also be strengthened for the final, mainly to protect the heads of state and their entourages, but also positioned in strategic areas around the city.

The South American teams of Chile and Argentina have by far the biggest number of fans in Brazil, with tens of thousands following them. Chile play the Dutch for first place in group B on Monday in Sao Paulo.

On Wednesday, up to 100,000 Argentinians are expected for their team’s last game against Nigeria in Porto Alegre, the closest venue to Argentina some 1,000 kilometres across the border. Some 30 Argentina fans were temporarily arrested Sunday when they climbed a wall to get into the Maracana for the game with Bosnia.

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