With the World Cup starting this week, most of us are thinking about the matches, festivities and glory. But for those who are tasked with providing event safety, the soccer is likely near the back of their minds. Event safety can be extremely complicated, especially for an event that spans a full month and covers an entire county (in this case, a country that is almost an entire continent). Event safety complications arise from both inside and outside the venues. Especially in soccer, where fans are notorious for their extra-curricular fights (see the movie Green Street Hooligans for more insight).
Although the issue of hooliganism matters to those charged with promoting event safety, the bigger picture, preventing a large-scale situation, has to be considered first. Fortunately, there are modern security mechanisms that help event security staff perform their duties. Tools like metal detectors and X-ray machines will be in use at this year’s cup, which should certainly help deter and identify some safety threats. Social media monitoring has also become a popular tool for event safety staff as they try to get out ahead of potential situations.
Yet, despite the various tools and technological advantages that event safety forces are equipped with, there is wisdom in the now well known ‘See Something, Say Something’ slogan. Ultimately, no matter how much technology exists, there are simply not enough event security forces to manage every member of the crowd, which can reach well into the hundreds of thousands of spectators. In order to help those staff members, it’s up to each and every one who’s in attendance to remain alert and aware of their surroundings. Just as important as having fun is remembering that we can all contribute to the safety of a venue; helping to ensure the sport remains fun for us and for future generations. Game on!