FIFA President Sepp Blatter is Confident On Security Anti-Hooliganism Measures for World Cup 2006

From - FIFA president Sepp Blatter today insisted security measures for next year's World Cup will prevent the tournament being marred by a spread of the hooliganism witnessed recently in Italy.

The world governing body's security chief Walter Gagg will be in London tomorrow to compare notes with English experts but Blatter believes the 2006 World Cup in Germany will be trouble-free despite problems the last time it was held in Europe.

During France '98 there was violence involving England fans in Marseille and a French policeman died after being stabbed by German hooligans.

Last week Inter Milan were ordered to play their next four European games behind closed doors after their Champions League match with AC Milan was abandoned when `keeper Nelson Dida was injured by a flare.

Blatter who was attending the Sport Accord conference here in Berlin said: 'I am not worried about hooliganism in the World Cup.

'Where the things have happened in Italy it is because they do not have any controls at the entry to the stadiums.

'Such a thing would never have been allowed to happen in England or Scotland or Germany it's impossible because when you go into the stadium you are controlled.

'Have you seen what they take through there - even a motor scooter once it's incredible.'

The World Cup hosts experienced hooligan problems themselves last month when around 200 German fans rampaged through the Slovenian city of Celje then let off flares and ripped up seats during the qualifier.

There have been fears that the World Cup will prove a magnet for Dutch and English hooligans but Blatter claimed the advances in intelligence would enable the German authorities to keep a lid on the problem.

He added: 'We are ultimately responsible for the World Cup and we have a very good relationship with the German authorities.

'I have absolute confidence in those who are organising the matches. We do not think that what happened in Slovenia with German hooligans can happen here in Germany.

'There is an excellent relationship between the police and security forces in different countries and now they know who these hooligans are where they are going and when they leave.'

Gagg FIFA's stadium and security director will be delivering a speech at the 2005 `Event and Venue Security' conference in London tomorrow.

He also intends to use the visit to pick the brains of FA officials and other experts including Sir John Stevens former Metropolitan Police commissioner and a fellow speaker at the conference.

Gagg said: 'I have already been in touch with the FA's chief executive Brian Barwick and I hope to be able to have some meetings with people from the FA and other speakers at the conference.

'They have a lot of experience and we would like to have a close relationship and to share our experience too about how to handle the problem of hooliganism.'

Blatter has also expressed his concern at the Italian government's announcement that they will intervene to force Serie A matches to be abandoned and forfeited when fans throw missiles.

He said: 'UEFA have called the Italians to order but we have also sent a letter to Franco Carraro the head of the Italian association to seek clarification about the information we have heard from the Italian government saying that they will intervene and stop matches.

'This is the other extreme but it is not possible that the police can stop a match it is a football event and can only be stopped by the referee or the match commissioner otherwise you have to have a replay.

'We want to know the details of this decision taken by (Silvio) Berlusconi's government.'


Saturday, September 16