The Telegraph
Saturday , February 9 , 2013
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Test for clubs and cops

The last time Mohun Bagan and East Bengal played a derby in Calcutta two months ago, tickets were priced three times lower and security was three notches below the police bandobast for Saturday.

Fans of the traditional rivals looking forward to the second face-off of the season at Salt Lake stadium should be prepared for frisking and a list of prohibitions never before seen in a football match in the city, the police said on Friday.

Each fan will be frisked thrice before he can take his seat in one of the galleries. “The first check will be with a handheld metal detector at the barricaded entrance, after which everyone would need to pass through a door-frame metal detector at the main gate. Fans will be frisked a second time before entering the galleries,” said an officer involved in the security arrangements.

Bidhannagar City Police had copped much of the blame for the fracas on December 9, when the two teams played an I-League match that ended with a concrete missile from the stands fracturing Bagan midfielder Syed Rahim Nabi’s cheekbone. The player had to undergo surgery.

Several fans and cops, including Bidhannagar police chief Rajeev Kumar, were also injured in the mayhem that forced a lathicharge.

“The police contingent has been instructed not to be distracted by what happens on the field. They must focus on the crowd. We have banned certain things from the stadium as a precaution,” deputy commissioner (headquarters) Subrata Bandopadhyay said.

The list of items banned from the stadium includes glass bottles, water bottles with caps, umbrellas, bags and even fruit.

The lowest priced ticket is Rs 200, up from Rs 70. For matches other than those featuring Mohun Bagan and East Bengal, Rs 20 would get a fan into the stadium.

Not only have ticket prices been raised, the authorities have put out only 70,000 out of a possible 1,20,000 passes for sale so that the stadium is not packed to capacity.

Sources said 2,000 police personnel and a 100-strong RAF team would be on duty for the match. Around 400 of these personnel will be posted outside the stadium.

The deployment for the last match between the two clubs was around 800.

“Uniformed policemen will be there in large numbers both at the top and base of the galleries. Cops in plainclothes will mingle with the fans to keep an eye on them. We have installed 40 CCTV cameras,” an officer said.

Fans will be allowed entry into the stadium from noon till 3pm, although the match is scheduled to start at 2pm.