Durban: The five one-day Internationals between Sri Lanka and South Africa, which started in Johannesburg today, will be used as pilot projects for spectator safety systems to be put in place during the World Cup in February-March.
World Cup Organising Committee media officer, Rodney Hartman, said on Wednesday that the upcoming matches between South Africa and Pakistan will also act as pilot projects for safety measures.
“The intention of these spectator safety measures is to ensure that all cricket fans can enjoy the game at grounds around South Africa in a secure environment,” he said.
“It is also important to ensure that the small minority of cricket fans who indulge in anti-social behaviour which interferes with the enjoyment of other spectators, are not tolerated,” he said.
“The best safety and security practice demands that South Africa complies with current world trends at major sporting events, particularly in the light of the overall security scenario post-September 11, 2001.
“With trained security officers in place around the country, spectators can also expect courteous assistance from the time their car is parked until they return home after an enjoyable day at the cricket stadium with their families and or friends,” the media officer said.
Hartman said current international stadium security benchmarks dictate the replacement of manual ticketing systems with automated electronic ones.
“The current world security environment has meant the introduction of magnetometers (metal detectors) at access points to international sporting events.
“Given these new access control procedures, and in order to make entry to the ground as painless as possible, certain items that South African spectators have traditionally brought to cricket grounds will not be allowed during the World Cup or during the pilot project matches,” Hartman said.
A comprehensive list of prohibited and restricted items has been published previously. For example, no hard cooler- boxes, deck-chairs or beach umbrellas will be allowed. No drinks whatsoever may be brought in.
However, prohibited items will be provided inside the ground. Drinks can be bought at reasonable prices and large umbrellas for shade inside the grounds, especially for grass embankments, will be provided.
The sale of liquor inside the stadiums will be limited to two 500ml draught beers in plastic glasses per person or two 200ml wine in plastic glasses per person per vendor visit. No hard liquor may be sold to spectators.
Public bars will have a mandatory shut-down period between 1 pm and 2.30 pm during day matches (4 pm to 6 pm for day/night matches) in an attempt to control the levels of inebriation within cricket stadiums.
Hartman said security officers will for the first time be supported by digital CCTV surveillance cameras, with recording back-up inside and outside the grounds, plain clothed “spotters” among spectators, a high visibility police presence - all co-ordinated from a state-of-the-art Venue Operation Centre (VOC).
All these measures are aimed at providing and facilitating pro-active security responses to prevent poor crowd behaviour incidents that could tarnish South Africa’s image.