RIO DE JANEIRO: Security at all World Cup venues is to be stepped after a string of incidents which picked holes – literally – in the ring-fencing of the finals writes KEIR RADNEDGE.

High-level meetings of federal, organisational and FIFA officials this week followed the breaching of the Maracana security system plus staff absenteeism at other venues.

A two-hour meeting involving Jutice Minister Jose Eduardo Cardozo, police and military cmmissioners and FIFA was followed by a statement of confirmation from the world football federation.

This said: “Representatives from the Ministry of Justice, the Ministry of Defence, the Ministry of Sport, FIFA and the LOC met on Friday in Rio de Janeiro to evaluate the security operations after the first week of the FIFA World Cup™.

“During the meeting, all parties reaffirmed the integrated security concept and made a detailed analysis of the operations at the stadia. As a result of this evaluation, it was decided to reinforce security in the stadia perimeters (both physically and with personnel) and to increase the presence of public security on access control points (mag & bags) as well as private security (stewards) inside the 12 stadiums.”

Jerome Valcke, FIFA’s secretary-general, said via Twitter: “Very good security meeting between FIFA, LOC and Brazilian government. Am certain agreed actions will make this great World Cup even safer.”

Ticketless fans

Maracana’s inadequate security arrangements had been exposed by incursions of tickeless fans from Argentina and then Chile. The latter also saw a rampage through the media centre which prompted predictably high-profile negative publicity.

One report after the security summit claimed that officers who have yet to complete their training would be seconded to the operation.

Cardozo said: “Some adjustments are being undertaken both outside the stadia and with an increase in the number of stewards and access staffing as well as improved surveillance of the two perimeter zones.”

No comment has been made about the numbers of extra staff although, in the case of embattled Maracana, this has been reported as at least an extra 600 police with an extension of officers’ duty rosters.

Fans have been urged to arrive at a match up to four hours ahead of kickoff to ease pressure on access points over ticket checks and bag searches.