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Small mercies for Cup spectators

Durban: World Cup spectators can thank the organisers for small mercies — they can now carry at least drinking water inside the stadiums.

The World Cup organising committee on Thursday lifted the ban on some items to be taken inside stadiums for the tournament starting February 8.

A revised list of banned items had been drawn up, the committee said in a statement.

“Whereas previously spectators were not allowed to take any liquid refreshments into the stadiums, the restriction is now relaxed to allow water in half litre soft plastic unbranded bottles,” said Rodney Hartman, media officer.

In addition, the ban on deck chairs has also been revised to allow spectators to use small camper chairs. However, restrictions remain on hard cooler-boxes, deck chairs and beach umbrellas.

International safety and security practice demand that South Africa comply with current world trends at major sporting events, particularly in the light of the overall security scenario post- September 11, 2001, Hartman said.

The final list of restricted items include all dangerous weapons, including firearms, ammunition, knives, sharp instruments, martial art weapons, baseball bats, and traditional weapons.

Other restricted items are fireworks, explosives, incendiary devices, flares, narcotics (other than prescribed), cold drinks and other non-alcoholic beverages.

Any signs or items with corporate branding other than official sponsors/vendors are also prohibited.

So too are non-accredited media equipment, air horns, nuisance items/equipment, trumpets, and lasers, cans, glass and hard/rigid plastic containers.

The changes have been made following pilot projects earlier in the South African season when World Cup regulations were tested.

Earlier this year, many spectators at an ODI in Centurion between South Africa and Sri Lanka left the ground early as temperatures soared into the mid-30s.

As well as the restriction on liquids, supporters had been prevented from taking beach umbrellas into the stadium, which has open grass banks on two thirds of the ground.

The World Cup starts in Cape Town on February 9 with a match between the hosts South Africa and West Indies.

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