Get to games early, warn fans

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JOHANNESBURG: The organizers of this year’s FIFA World Cup have issued a stern warning to football spectators to arrive early for matches or miss the action due to the strict security measures that will be in place during the tournament.

With just 30 days to go before kick-off at Johannesburg’s Soccer City Stadium, the Local Organizing Committee (LOC), led by CEO Danny Jordaan, held a wide-ranging press conference on Tuesday (11 May 2010) during from which local and foreign media received an indication of the country’s preparation for the tournament.

A detailed security plan for the event has now been finalized and handed over to the National Police Commissioner, General Bheki Cele, for comments.

At the Confederations Cup last year, fans were allowed into stadiums even before kick-off, but for the World Cup spectators were asked to arrive at least three hours before kick-off. dispatch, especially for the opening game.

Each supporter will be assigned a seat number, so each ticket will need to be scanned before any access is granted. The information will be stored electronically, allowing organizers to easily trace anyone inside the stadium.

“We are going to have strict security measures and if you want to sit down and watch the game in time, you better be at the stadium in time,” said LOC security chief Mlungisi Ncame.

Security at all airports is expected to be tightened as most teams and fans are expected to start arriving in the coming weeks.

It has also been confirmed that Mexico, who face Bafana Bafana in the opening match, will send at least 15,000 supporters to the World Cup, most of whom will come to Africa for the first time. The United States will send the largest number of spectators followed by England making the meeting between the two in Rustenburg one of the most important games of the tournament in terms of security.

But security isn’t the only area the LOC is focusing on, transport will also be a critical element and could make or break the first-ever World Cup in South Africa. The LOC will want to make sure the mistakes made in the Confederations Cup are not repeated this time around.

The last three weeks have seen the opening of a new terminal at OR Tambo International and the new King Shaka International Airport in Durban and hundreds of buses have been purchased to transport football fanatics across the country.

“It’s been a very difficult planning period for us and I think every host city is ready and knows what to do,” said LOC’s Skhumbuzo Macozoma.

“The mistake we made in the Confed Cup was to let one system (the park and ride) burn out and now we want to balance all the available modes of transport that we have,” he said. .

Football fans will also be encouraged to avoid leaving the stadium at the same time as the final whistle. There will be entertainment in and around the stadium to keep people busy long after matches have finished to avoid traffic jams and exhaustion of transport.

Meanwhile, the first group of volunteers from several countries have started arriving in the country to help during the 30-day football spectacle. Argentina will send at least 20 volunteers while 50 will come from Mexico, according to Onke Mjo who is in charge of the volunteer program. Volunteers will guide fans, teams and media using all the languages ​​of the 32 nations represented in the tournament.

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