FIFA 2010 Security

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Less than a year before the start of the 2010 FIFA World Cup, all eyes are on the event preparations in South Africa.

The 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, which began in South Africa on Sunday 14 June and ran for two weeks, was considered by many to be a dress rehearsal for the organisation, running, and security of the 2010 World Cup. More than 8, 000 South African police officers were deployed to Confederations Cup venues, airports, and hotels as part of the security arrangements. Army troops also assisted in the four host cities. Ticketholders were required to pass through metal detectors and bag scanners before entering stadia in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Bloemfontein and Rustenburg. South African media reported that FIFA president Sepp Blatter was on hand to monitor the event, the success of which bodes well for a problem–free World Cup in 2010. When asked if he had concerns over the smooth running of 2010's event, Blatter responded cautiously. "If I was happy with everything, it would be perfect. Perfection doesn't exist, " he said. "Let us see how the Confederations Cup goes, and speak about concerns for the World Cup afterwards. "South African Police Service Senior Superintendent and spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said Confederations Cup security was running smoothly. "As far as security is concerned, it's all going according to plan, " he said. "We're working very, very closely with various other government departments, with the South African national defence force, traffic, metro, and all other government departments that form part of the national joint operational structure. "Crime rate adds pressure to 2010 securitySouth Africa's high crime rates have cast doubts over the nation's ability to host a problem–free event, and organisers have been under international scrutiny as they work to keep players, officials, media and tourists safe. Reported crime rate statistics for South Africa vary, but according to South African Police Service (SAPS) data, an average of 50 murders per day was reported across the country in 2007–2008. An average of 324 cases per day of robbery, including bank robbery, carjacking, and other forms of theft, was reported during the same period. Statistics like these have led to fears that some of the expected 450, 000 visitors to South Africa during the World Cup period could find themselves in dangerous situations. South African Organising Committee chief executive Danny Jordaan responded to concerns at the opening of the 2009 Confederations Cup. "One of the issues that we're really concerned about is the issue of security–because, you know, most of the places that they are going to be using for the World Cup, if you watch the news these days, the news is always reporting the issue of crime and crime and crime. "Jordaan spoke confidently about the host nation's capabilities in overcoming this problem, saying South Africa's track record for security at major events was "second to none". "We've hosted 146 major events in the country, and not a single incident. We've just completed the Indian Premier League in the country; not a single incident. We have the Super 14 virtually every week in the country. "Jordaan also pointed to the recent inauguration of new South African president Jacob Zuma as a further success story. "The capabilities of South Africa's security companies must not be undermined, " Jordaan said. World Cup security preparationsThe security budget for the World Cup is R1. 3bn ($161m), of which R665m will be spent on procurement, and R640m on deployment. According to a statement from the South African government, the procurement budget will provide crowd–control equipment, crime–scene trainers, body armour, unmanned aircraft for surveillance, helicopters, ten water cannons, ten bomb–disposal robots, and 100 high–performance BMWs for high patrols. 300 mobile cameras will be in use, along with four mobile command centre, which will have high–tech monitoring equipment and be able to receive live footage from aircraft and other cameras. The statement added that investments made under the World Cup procurement budget would provide a lasting legacy for the SAPS. Event–specific training is already underway for the 41, 000 police officers who will be deployed for the World Cup, some in dedicated 2010 police stations set up near stadia. Members of the SAPS have been training with French riot police in the lead–up to the event. Competing nations will also provide specially trained officers to support the SAPS, but the full number of these will not be known until the final draw is finalised in December 2009. The South African National Defence Force, Metro police, traffic officials and disaster management staff will be on hand to support the SAPS. South Africa is placing a strong focus on border security at land, sea, and air points of entry, and SAPS spokesperson Vishnu Naidoo said security arrangements were working not only to prevent disruption, but to keep possibly disruptive people out of the country altogether. "We're working very closely with Interpol, " Naidoo said. "They are in the process of establishing what is called the Dangerous and Disruptive Persons Database, which will assist us in identifying people who may pose a potential danger to the tournament as far as organised fighting or hooliganism is concerned. "The cyber complicationLess has been said about cyber security for the event, but recent research has suggested that South Africans and international football fans are likely to be the targets of World Cup–related internet attacks. Internet security provider Symantec has reported that during the 2006 FIFA World Cup, related phishing attacks–attempts to acquire sensitive information–rose by 40%. Symantec spokesperson Justice Mcebi said World Cup–related organisations needed to be mindful of the threat. "Organisations need to secure the integrity of their information, particularly confidential information provided by users accessing web sites offering services and products relating to the event. Hackers will attempt to gain access to valuable information through compromising user accounts, and can also reach customer information held in databases that run behind the websites. "Mcebi said that countries introducing extensive broadband services tended to see a sharp increase in cyber attacks, as criminals took advantage of inadequate security in new systems. A number of undersea fibre–optic cables linking Africa to Europe and the UK, including Seacom along the East African coast, and the West African Cable System (WACS), are due for completion between 2009 and and 2011. The event that could change a nationThe 2010 FIFA World Cup, the largest sporting event ever to be awarded to an African nation, falls 20 years after the end of apartheid in South Africa. The significance of that anniversary is just one more reason the country will be doing everything in its power to overcome issues of safety and security to host a problem–free event. New South African president Jacob Zuma highlighted both the optimism and the possibilities for the nation at his inauguration in May 2009: "South Africa will deliver a world–class event that will forever change the perceptions of the international community, and also ensure a lasting legacy for the people of Africa. "

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