World Cup: Time to Whoop Ass


I don't like football (read: soccer) any more than you do. But we can probably agree that the arrival of those lustful football fans on German soil for the World Cup is a good test for a multi-national security force.littledutchboy.jpgA combination of Stella Artois, 30 degree heat and discussion about my native England's "chances" create a mental state capable of (and fit for) quite a lot of punishment. And it's not just the Germans that want a chance to beat the crap out of these morons.13 Countries have queued for an opportunity to get on the action with about 80 uniformed British officers taking part in the largest joint police operation in European history. Its also worth noting the threats to this World Cup are roughly comparable to those in a modern battlefield - peaceful and violent demonstrators, far right/left wing groups, multi-ethnic /multi-religious group tensions and possible foreign terrorism will make affective security and policing a challenge.Along with the usual surveillance equipment associated with modern sporting events, some of the 2006 World Cup technology includes:

* Fast Fingerprinting devices allowing German police to transmit identification data to be matched against archives stored in the central database of the German Federal Intelligence Service.* Facial recognition CCTV in the stadiums will allow cameras to record biometric facial features of suspected hooligans which can be checked in real time against photos stored in the central database.* RFID chips in more than 3 million tickets will include identification information that will be checked as holders pass through entrance gates. Those with the tickets have had to provide personal data such as name, address, nationality, and passport number (with minor outrage)* NATO AWACS planes and the German Air Force will patrol the skies above Germany throughout the tournament maintaining an exclusion zone around the stadiums.* 5,000 private security, 7,000 German army troops and 30,000 German police (luckily unarmed) are supplemented by volunteer groups; most notably the now militant "Die Hasselhoff, Die."
The Germans are being quite coy on the cost of all this, other than it's "less" than the $1 billion spent in the Athens Olympics. They actually seem more impressed with their new ball and the game's motto: "a time to make friends".For me, the World Cup just wouldn't be the same without Henry "4-4-2" Kissinger, so for you nervous first-timers here's a snippet of his 2000 word coma-fest explaining the game - you should wake up around mid-July, well after the end of the tournament:
In eight groups of four, each team plays the others in its group. The top two teams of each group advance to a sudden-death round...Manipulating a ball by foot along a 110-yard-long field into an opposing goal requires skills analogous to ballet...This turns the game into a kind of geometry of finding uncovered open spaces from which to launch an unimpeded shot on the goal...The result was a kind of total football: whatever the assigned position of the player, he had the additional task of reinforcing the center of gravity, attack or defense, depending on the situation.
-- Steven Snell
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