Football Football

Embarrased FIFA to tighten security


CHILE-FANS-MARACANARIO DE JANEIRO, June 19- FIFA said Thursday it was embarrassed that scores of Chileans managed to gate-crash Maracana Stadium before their team’s World Cup match against Spain, vowing to tighten security to avoid a repeat.

A crush of fans, many wearing their country’s red jersey, shattered a door to the iconic Rio de Janeiro stadium’s media center and swarmed into internal corridors before Wednesday’s match, leading to 87 arrests.

“It is embarrassing,” FIFA’s security director Ralf Mutschke said of the incident.

“I think we have to protect journalists and the media and there’s no doubt about it, we also have to protect the fans,” he told reporters at FIFA’s daily World Cup briefing, whose topic was changed from medical services to security after the episode.

He said the invasion by ticketless fans — the second such incident at the stadium, which will host the July 13 final — had made organizers rethink security measures at Brazil’s 12 match venues.

“We had meetings to assess the situation and make sure that this won’t be repeated and I am confident that with the measures discussed we will avoid such an incident again,” he said.

But he would not specify what sorts of measures would be taken.

“It’s not from another planet,” he said. “You assess the structures, the material, and you assess if there are individual failures. This is all going to be assessed and you come to a conclusion to avoid such failures again.”

FIFA claims no ticketless fans managed to get into the match, but security staff and witnesses spoke of about 200 fans rushing the stadium, some making it through a tunnel onto the pitch and being lifted up into the stands.

The fans who were detained have been given 72 hours to leave the country or face deportation.

On Sunday, a group of fans in Argentina colors smashed through an entry gate at the same stadium before the country’s first World Cup match.

Nine people were arrested after that incident and were released without charge after being booked and put on file.