Americas

Thursday 24 July 2014

Brazil deploys 170,000 officers in World Cup crime clampdown

Ben Farmer

Published 09/06/2014|02:30

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England captain Steven Gerrard, center, and goalkeeper Joe Hart, right, pass members of the Brazilian army standing on guard as the players got off the team coach upon their arrival at the squad's hotel for the 2014 World Cup in Rio do Janeiro. AP
England captain Steven Gerrard, center, and goalkeeper Joe Hart, right, pass members of the Brazilian army standing on guard as the players got off the team coach upon their arrival at the squad's hotel for the 2014 World Cup in Rio do Janeiro. AP
Joe Hart walks past Brazilian army personal as he arrives at the team hotel in Rio de Janeiro June 8, 2014. Reuters
Joe Hart walks past Brazilian army personal as he arrives at the team hotel in Rio de Janeiro June 8, 2014. Reuters
Members of the Brazilian army stand guard outside a hotel upon the arrival of the England team for the 2014 World Cup in Rio do Janeiro, Brazil. AP
Members of the Brazilian army stand guard outside a hotel upon the arrival of the England team for the 2014 World Cup in Rio do Janeiro, Brazil. AP

Brazil is deploying around 170,000 security guards and spending more than €600,000 on securing visiting World Cup fans from dangers including muggings, hooliganism and violent crime, a new report estimates.

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Fans could also see their visits disrupted by strikes, demonstrations and social unrest, the study warns.

The security bill of €615m for this year's World Cup is five times higher than in South Africa in 2010 and includes more than €230m given to the armed forces to secure Brazil's borders.

Laurence Allan, head of Latin America Country Risk analysis at IHS, said: "While it is more expensive to operate in Brazil than South Africa, the Brazilian authorities have invested heavily on security and defence equipment to combat a wide range of challenges across the 12 host cities."

Street crime is the biggest menace to football fans, with cities in the north-east holding the greatest threat. But the Brazilian government is also braced for damaging strikes and demonstrations as unions and protest groups use publicity around the World Cup to make demands.

Mr Allan said: "The risk to visitors travelling to host cities can be grouped into three categories, cities with a high risk of theft, a high risk of theft and disruption from protests and those with a lower risk of theft and disruption. The cities are roughly split between all four categories."

He continued: "Social protests are certain to occur in many of the host cities, but are likely to be on a far smaller scale than those seen last year during the 2013 Confederation Cup.

"The Brazilian authorities have learned lessons from that experience. They have set up command and control centres across the 12 host cities and will be able to flood areas with security personnel if needed.

"If Brazilian security forces overreact, then we would see a risk that protests would escalate, as they did in 2013."

Meanwhile, as the controversy over alleged bribes to secure the staging of the tournament in Qatar continued, Fifa came under pressure last night to ban Franz Beckenbauer from football after the German admitted refusing to co-operate with the investigation into Qatar's 2022 World Cup bid.

Mr Beckenbauer, one of the most revered figures in the game's history, confirmed last week that he had snubbed an approach to be interviewed by Fifa's chief investigator over the controversial 2010 vote.

Mr Beckenbauer (68), who was on the executive committee that awarded the 2022 finals to Qatar, claimed that Michael J Garcia had "no power whatsoever" to make him comply with the probe because he was "no longer actively involved in football".

However, the man who lifted the World Cup as both player and manager remains on Fifa's Football Committee, is honourary president of Bayern Munich and is also chairman of the German giants' advisory board.

Mr Garcia, who concludes his inquiry today and will report his findings towards the end of July, could recommend that Mr Beckenbauer is sanctioned for his refusal to co-operate with the investigation.

Jim Boyce, the Fifa vice-president and Britain's most senior football official, said: "I have been told that Michael Garcia has wanted to interview some people and these people have not been willing to co-operate with him. If anyone has refused to co-operate with his investigation, I would support them being named and sanctioned."

Another executive committee member branded Mr Beckenbauer's refusal "pathetic", calling for him to be "named and shamed".

As well as refusing to co-operate with Mr Garcia, Mr Beckenbauer claimed that the former US Attorney for the Southern District of New York "tried the limits of my patience" in two letters the American wrote to him.

Leaked

The German was named at the weekend by 'The Sunday Times' as one of the subjects of leaked emails detailing the activities of senior football figures prior to the 2010 vote. The files indicate that Mr Beckenbauer travelled to Doha as a guest of Mohamed Bin Hammam, Qatar's disgraced former executive committee member, a year earlier and met the country's Emir.

Documents also show that Mr Bin Hammam invited Mr Beckenbauer again five months after the vote – and after he had stepped down from the executive committee – along with bosses from an oil and gas shipping firm, which was employing the German as a consultant. They also indicate that he held two more meetings with Mr Bin Hammam in May and June 2011.

The shipping firm, ER Capital Holding, said that no deal came from the talks in Doha, while Mr Beckenbauer declined to comment. Fifa referred all queries on Mr Beckenbauer to Mr Garcia, who could not be reached for comment.

Separately yesterday, sponsors Sony and Adidas have joined growing calls for a full review into the awarding of the tournament to Qatar. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

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