Can practice make perfect? Security and the 2010 FIFA World Cup

  • Johan Burger ISS
  • Bilkis Omar ISS
Keywords: FIFA World Cup, safety, FIFA Confederations Cup, South Africa, protest


The security of major events such as the FIFA Confederations Cup (FCC) in 2009 and the FIFA World Cup (FWC) in 2010 is crucial to their success. This article explores South Africa's readiness for the FWC from a security perspective, and considers the security machinery responsible for the planning of the operation and its eventual implementation. It also provides a synopsis of other security operations during 2009, such as the general elections, the Indian Premier League Cricket tournament and the British and Irish Lions rugby tour, and the lessons learnt from these. In addition, policing the wave of service delivery protests and strikes during the first half of 2009 added valuable lessons, especially in relation to crowd management. Finally, the article considers some of the real and potential security threats for the FWC and concludes that, in spite of a few remaining concerns, South Africa has the will and capacity to provide high quality security for one of the world's biggest sporting events.

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