With Russia preparing to host the FIFA World Cup this summer, UEFA is giving key assistance and advice to the Russian Football Union (FSU) in areas such as counter-terrorism measures and training stewards.
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UEFA is giving key assistance and advice to the Russian Football Union (RFS) in the stadium security field, as Russia prepares to host the 2018 FIFA World Cup this summer.
Russian security officers have attended a UEFA counter-terrorism masterclass, and special courses have also given coaching to those in Russia who are responsible for training stewards at football matches.
Terrorism is perceived as a real threat around matches, in particular after the attack at the Stade de France during a friendly match between France and Germany in November 2015.
UEFA had already begun addressing the issue for the European Under-21 Championship final tournament in Israel in 2013, when it worked in conjunction with Israeli experts on security measures for the event.
This work gave UEFA a head start in responding to the new concerns. As a result, UEFA has developed a two-day counter-terrorism masterclass – and, following a successful pilot event in the Netherlands, Russia was considered a logical choice to host the inaugural masterclass gathering, given the leading edge security preparations made for the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup in Russia, and with the forthcoming World Cup in mind.
The event was attended by security officers of Russian Premier League clubs and stadium security officers, as well as UEFA representatives and experts.
Topics covered included the history of terrorism, especially at sporting events, and the lesson learned; how attacks were planned; how security operations should be implemented; and best practices in proactive security work. Case studies examined recent terrorist attacks in Tel Aviv and Manchester
The Russian audience welcomed UEFA’s initiative, as it gave them reassurances that their stadium security work was on the right track, as well as providing them with the opportunity to learn best practices and exchange knowledge and expertise.
Further counter-terrorism masterclasses are planned in other European national associations in the coming period, as UEFA stays at the vanguard of efforts to make football matches a safe, welcome and enjoyable experience for everyone involved.
Meanwhile, UEFA is also providing assistance for security operations at the World Cup by helping to train stadium stewards who will play a crucial role at the tournament.
The stewards are being trained in line with a special programme being implemented jointly by UEFA and the Russian Football Union.
The proper training of stewards is a key element of UEFA’s ongoing stadium security strategy. Stewards are responsible for crowd management, and they must be given effective training. UEFA responds to this requirement by “training the trainers” – coaching people who will then be coaching stewards themselves.
UEFA’s objective is to provide training to those responsible for training stewards in its 55 member associations; to enhance the trainers’ understanding of stewarding and safety/security management; enable the trainers to deliver a training programme to stewards themselves; and lay the foundations for a competent stewarding workforce in the associations.
The stewards’ training programme is based on best practices that have been gleaned at major European football competitions, such as recent UEFA EURO tournaments, the UEFA Champions League and the UEFA Europa League.
Stewards are being briefed on a variety of aspects of their job – the need to have comprehensive knowledge of their area of a stadium, and knowing how to act in the event of a potential problem, as well as being fully aware of crisis management plans and evacuation procedures.
Since the autumn of 2015, a series of “train the trainer” courses have been held in Moscow, with one course devoted to stewarding at the four stadiums that hosted matches in the 2017 FIFA Confederations’ Cup – Saint Petersburg, Moscow (Spartak Stadium), Kazan and Sochi.
The most recent course added the eight other stadiums that will be hosting matches this summer – Moscow (Luzhniki Stadium), Nizhny Novgorod, Kaliningrad, Volgograd, Rostov-on-Don, Ekaterinburg, Samara and Saransk.
Over the three years since 2015, almost 100 trainers have been coached and prepared.
“Training the stewards is essential, because knowledge and confidence in the stadium are indispensable,” explained Marc Timmer, UEFA’s safety and security policy advisor.