LYON, France – Major international sporting events such as the FIFA World Cup tournaments and Olympic Games present policing and security challenges for host countries.
As well as taking place in large, complex and dispersed locations, such events can attract a range of criminal activities from disorder and violence to cyberattacks and even terrorism.
Host countries and event owners are faced with the challenge of providing a smooth-running and successful event while keeping participants and spectators safe and secure.
Meeting this challenge has been the focus of a senior management training course at INTERPOL’s General Secretariat headquarters. It aimed to enhance law enforcement capabilities and best practices in tackling large-scale incidents during major national and international sporting events.
The three-day (12 – 14 September) scenario-based course was co-organized by INTERPOL's Project Stadia and the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4).
“This course has been addressing several international priorities and capabilities for countries hosting major international sporting events. Through training, the University of Southern Mississippi’s NCS4 works closely with Project Stadia to support the overall INTERPOL mission to enhance police cooperation and capacity building for international sporting events,” said Dr. Lou Marciani, NCS4 Director.
Participants from 27 countries focused in particular on operational, tactical and strategic incident management planning, crowd and evacuation management, and crisis communications, with representatives from the Council of Europe, FIFA, and Qatar’s Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy attending as observers.
“It is vital to exchange information, to look for best practices, to bring together international experts to discuss challenges ahead of the World Cup in Qatar. Collaboration in the field of safety and security is especially important,” said Helmut Spahn, FIFA’s Director of Security.
Established by INTERPOL and funded by Qatar, Project Stadia aims to create a centre of excellence and good practice platform to help INTERPOL member countries plan and undertake security and cybersecurity preparations for major sporting events.
“Drawing on its global network of experts, Project Stadia delivers international conferences and training courses which gather experts in the field of major international event policing and security to share their experiences and learn from their counterparts. Our partnerships with established national or international entities such as NCS4 are important in establishing best practices,” said Falah Al Dosari, Senior Manager, Project Stadia.
On 7 and 8 November, under the auspices of Project Stadia, Doha will host the 1st Major Event Safety and Security Conference, co-organized by INTERPOL and the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy in Qatar.
Participants will review the global threat environment, its implications for the security of future major public events, and event critical infrastructure resilience.