Friday, March 13, 2009

Jordaan: Teams Will Be Safe in South Africa

Safety has been a hot button issue when discussing the 2010 World Cup in South Africa.

Will fans be safe? Will the squads coming over be safe?

South Africa has a high crime rate and steps have been taken to remedy the situation, such as training new officers and implementing sweeping safety measures.

Today, chief executive officer of the 2010 World Cup in South Africa Danny Jordaan reiterated that there will not be a single security breach or attack on any of the teams or their officials taking part in the tournament come next summer.

Speaking in London in the wake of heightened concern following the ambush in Pakistan of Sri Lanka's cricket team last week, the man who masterminded South Africa's successful bid said, "We've already had our security people working at the Germany World Cup, the Euro 2008 final and the Beijing Olympics.

"But over and above that we will have 41,000 extra police and, in total, 86,000 additional personnel on duty during the World Cup. There will be water cannons, police helicopters, surveillance cameras and regular dry runs of security in each of our host cities because this is an important issue for us."

Jordaan also pointed to South Africa's record of hosting major sporting events since independence in 1994. "If you look at our event experience we've hosted many including the rugby World Cup in 1995, the 2003 cricket World Cup and the Twenty20 World Cup in 2007. We have [teams] in and out of the country all the time — this year we have the British Lions tour and the Confederations Cup.

"There is societal crime and event security — these are two separate issues. The way to secure the event is to collect the maximum information. I know when the team is arriving, when it is training, where it is playing and I know when the fans are coming. If I have 100% of this information I can tell I can a guarantee it will be 100% safe. Our security plan has been tested over 15 years and from 22 major events there has not been a single security issue."

MY POV: Jordaan is a confident man and had better hope nothing happens during the Cup. Or it will look very bad not only for South Africa but the entire continent.

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