Ticketless Fans Breach Security Gate at World Cup Site
More than two dozen ticketless fans forced their way past security guards and through a gate into the Maracana stadium, the tournament's largest site, before Argentina played Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday night. Cellphone video of the incident showed about 30 people breaching a security gate at the Maracana.
FIFA and World Cup officials faced questions about security Monday after two incidents Sunday kept ticketed fans out of one match until after it had begun and nearly allowed two dozen fans without tickets to force their way into another.
In the more troubling incident, more than two dozen ticketless fans forced their way past security guards and through a gate into the Maracana stadium, the tournament's largest site, before Argentina played Bosnia and Herzegovina on Sunday night. Cellphone video of the incident showed about 30 people breaching a security gate at the Maracana.
FIFA said none of the fans got into the game: Nine were detained by a second layer of security inside - one was allowed to stay for the match because he carried a valid ticket - while the others retreated back outside the gate when challenged. Those detained were turned over to the police.
"The Plan B worked well," a spokesman for the local organizing committee, Saint-Clair Milesi, said of the second layer of security inside, and he said organizers had reviewed their security at each venue. "We don't expect that happening again." (Also read: Japan still bruised after Elephant stampede)
Earlier Sunday, thousands of fans in Brasilia missed the start of France's victory over Honduras when 30 percent of workers hired to screen bags at the gates failed to show up for work. Long lines could be seen snaking to the stadium only moments before the game, and the stands had thousands of empty seats midway through the first half.
World Cup officials said they had been assured by the contractor hired to provide the screeners that a new contingency plan would prevent a reoccurrence in Brasilia and in the other 11 host cities, but they also pleaded with fans attending games to arrive early. In Brasilia, 35,000 fans entered the stadium in the final hour before kickoff, even though gates open at each match three hours before kickoff.
FIFA also said it had confiscated about 50 counterfeit tickets at matches Sunday, an increase on the average of 25-30 per game it had seen in the tournament's first week.
© 2014 New York Times News Service