SANTA MONICA – Russia is gearing up to host the FIFA Confederations Cup that will begin on June 17th and run until July 2nd. However, as terrorism incidents increase around the world, there is pressure for security at the games to be stricter than ever. Although Deputy Head of Federal Security Bureau, Alexei Lavrishchev, told Reuters that, “there are currently no identified immediate threats to the security of participants and guests of the Confederations Cup and the World Cup,” Russia is taking the safety of this cup very seriously.
Russian President, Vladimir Putin, has even signed a new law that allows for unique security measures in the cities where the Confederations Cup and the 2018 World Cup will be played. After all, soccer matches have been targeted before by bombers. In 2015, at the Stade de France, three suicide bombers attempted to enter the stadium, but were stopped by security. The bombs then went off just outside the stadium, killing one.
In an attempt to preemptively weed out problems, Russia is sharing information and working in collaboration with other countries to ensure that all possible security threats and past perpetrators are taken care of. Anton Gusev, First Deputy Head for Major Sports Events Security Department at Russian Ministry of Interior has said that close to 200 people are currently not allowed by court order to go to any of the games in Russia.
Gusev continued, telling Reuters that, “citizens who have seriously violated the law during sports competitions, who have displayed racist behaviour, set off fireworks, damaged furniture, or have attempted fights are under [their] constant unblinking stare. This also includes foreign football hooligans.” He feels that they “now have enough modern technical means…that allow [them] to identify, record and document any illegal actions including racist behaviour and [they] will give a tough response to it and hold (offenders) accountable,” he told Reuters.
Additionally, the players will also have heightened security. For the Confederations Cup, “there will be law enforcement officers who will accompany every team everywhere, at any time of movement. During collective movement – like from a hotel to the training grounds or to games and back, the team will be accompanied by traffic police cars and also by the Rosgvardia (Russian National Guard) who will physically protect them,” Lavrishchev continued. No chances are being taken.
First up for the Confederations Cup, on Saturday June 17th, Russia will take on New Zealand at 6:00 pm local time.
Some content courtesy of Reuters. Photos by ISI.