10th July 2018
The FIFA World Cup is one of the year’s biggest sporting events, completely eclipsing both the Formula 1 racing and Wimbledon tennis tournament which have run concurrently with the football. With a global audience estimated to be in the billions, and with tens of thousands of fans descending on the stadiums across Russia, security has been the watchword of the competition.
Not only has there been additional security personnel in place throughout Russia, but there has also been a significant increase in physical security installations too – and fencing has played a pivotal part in ensuring the safety and security of the fans and players. One of the primary security challenges has been the sheer number of locations that need to be secured. Not only does this cover the actual stadiums that the games will be played in, but each team has their own training pitches that also need protection. Given that at the start of the tournament there were 32 countries taking part, this meant that 32 training pitches, plus all the stadia, had to be secure, combined with the teams’ base camps and hotels. FIFA regulations specify that all training grounds need to be surrounded by a perimeter fence at least 2m high, and this fencing must contain cladding and other suitable measures to prevent climbing or spying activities.
However, the fencing used throughout the competition has had to be incredibly diverse and designed to ward off as many different types of problems as possible. So not only has the fencing had to be able to ensure basic crowd management and be strong enough to stand up to football hooliganism, it also needs to take into account potential terrorist attacks, such as the vehicle-based attacks seen recently throughout Europe. As such, vehicle mitigation systems have been used in conjunction with various types of security fencing in order to keep the crowds as safe as possible.
Given that there isn’t much of the World Cup left, with only a few matches to go, and there have been no major security issues, we can say that the security fence has really been the true star of the show.