Updated July 2018
The 21st FIFA World Cup wraps up in Russia this week, and even though the United States of America did not qualify and will not be participating, it still promises to be an exciting display of soccer on an international level.
Like the Olympics and Super Bowl, this is a huge event and therefore, it takes a lot to ensure the safety of all athletes, workers, and spectators. Unlike the other events, this competition is played over the course of more than a month, making it that much more difficult to secure.
Here are five things you need to know about security at this year’s event.
1. It’s the biggest sporting event of the year.
According to FIFA.com, the cup is the biggest “single-event sporting competition in the world.” In 2014, more than 3 billion people tuned in to watch some part of the competition, and more than one million watched the final game. The same year, the average number of spectators at a game was more than 53,500.
With the sheer size of the crowds and more than 60 games expected to take place between 32 teams this year, security of all venues and events will be the utmost priority.
2. The soccer matches will be held in multiple stadiums across the country.
According to a report by BBC, the matches will be held in 12 stadiums in 11 different cities. The opening and final games will be played at Luzhniki in Moscow, which is the newest and biggest arena in the country. Because there are multiple locations, officials must make a strategic plan for security at each one – much like the Olympics.
3. Russia’s safety protocols are based on the country’s already strict security measures.
According to Sports, Entertainment, and Event – Management Professor Elizabeth Van Patten, Ph.D., Russia has been working tirelessly to secure the international competition for some time now, though their existing protocols made it a little bit easier.
“As far as security is concerned, FIFA has been working diligently on security arrangements and comprehensive security concepts developed by the Russian authorities and the local Organizing Committee,” she said. “As demonstrated during the FIFA Confederations Cup last year, Russia’s already high security standards have been adapted to meet the specific needs of such a massive sporting event.”
4. Communication is crucial in order to execute security measures.
To make sure everyone stays safe and that everything goes according to plan, security officials will be speaking back and forth with local and federal officials during the entirety of the competition.
“Throughout the World Cup, FIFA will be in constant contact with all stakeholders regarding the ongoing risk assessment and any new threats that arise, which will enable the implementation of overall preventive measures in cooperation with national and international enforcement authorities in Russia,” Van Patten said.
5. The world will be watching to see how Russia handles any conflicts that arise.
According to Professor Van Patten, because of the size of the international audience that tunes in for the competition, there is a significant amount of pressure riding on how Russian handles any incidents that do come up.
“With security and event safety on the minds of everyone, the world will look to Russia to see any new security measures that can be implemented around the world,” she said.
The final match takes place on July 15.
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