World Cup Safety & Security Forum
Tony Conniford, Head of Corporate and Team Security, The FA
Roger Evans, Assistant Director Uk Football Policing Unit
Sarah de Carvalho, Chief Executive Happy Child International / Its a Penalty Campaign (seewww.itsapenalty.com)
Kevin Miles, Co-ordinator England Fan Embassies World Cup 2014
The London EnglandFans group held their third fans forum on the Brazil World Cup at the Savoy Tup last Thursday. The evening was a chance for the fans to hear from key speakers who are all linked to the safety, security and enjoyment of the fans at this summer’s tournament. With just 56 days to go until the opening game the guest panel were able to provide insight into how tournament preparations are developing over in Brazil and how the planning process by the FA and the Football Policing Unit were progressing.
Roger Evans, who has helped shape the Football Policing Units plans for Brazil, was able to provide some insight into the relationship that the UK police have with their Brazillian counterparts. Essentially the UK representation will be in Brazil in an advisory capacity only, having no decision making powers in the way that the crowds are managed. They will however be able to use their experience to ‘interpret the behaviour of the Englandfans’, being free to provide advice and try to recommend a certain course of action in a diplomatic manner.
In terms of safety, which has been a reoccurring theme in the media during the build-up for the tournament, it was reassuring to hear that it will be the full Polícia Militar covering match days rather than lower levels of Federal police which exist in Brazil.
In addition to the strategic side of security, both Roger and Tony Conniford from the FA Team Security were keen to provide practical advice for matchdays. One of the key themes here was for fans to give themselves plenty of time to travel to the stadiums. The likes of Rio and Sao Paolo are huge cities where traffic can be a big issue. For some of the World Cup venues such as Forteleza there will be a huge traffic exclusion zone around the stadium which could mean a walk of up to two miles from the ground.
Whilst traffic & transport may cause some logistical issues for fans, Sarah de Carvalho, Chief Executive Happy Child International spoke about some far more concerning problems facing Brazil. Having lived in Brazil for over 20 years, Sarah’s charity works to rescues and rehabilitate street children who are at risk from the danger of sexual exploitation. It was quite shocking to hear that sex tourism went up by an estimated 40% during the World Cup in South Africa. Brazil is now the second most popular destination for sex tourism with an estimated 250,000 children working as prostitutes. After watching a BBC video EnglandFans were urged to support the ‘It’s a Penalty’ campaign which encourages football fans to ‘say something if you see something’ by dialling 100 from any phone line in Brazil. The campaign is supported by the likes of Linekar, Shearer and Didier Drogba and LondonEnglandFans have backed the campaign by wearing badges and wristbands which will be distributed to all fans who have bought their tickets through the FA.
At the evening the forum heard from Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters Federation. Fresh from his second trip back from Brazil, Kevin was keen for Fans to spread the word that the Free Lions guide to the World Cup was now available. Key travel tips will be available in the guide which information such as the availability of Wifi (sounded fairly good), bars and sights to visit. Belo Horizonte sounds like the pick of Englands group stage destination. Whilst Manaus is surrounded by the beauty of the Amazon jungle, the city itself was depicted as an industrial outpost which holds few areas of interest aside from the crunch tie with Italy.