Will England have ex-SAS loons who can kill with a glance?

A report out this morning says some teams are preparing to make their own security arrangements during the World Cup. It seems the likes of Germany, Italy, Australia and New Zealand are to take additional staff to support security staff already in place. One source quoted isn’t surprised, given the scale of the event. So what is the story here?

The teams identified so far are from the West or Australasia. Is it really that much of a shock to learn they are taking their own security people to South Africa? Presumably most have extensive insurance policies in place and are prepared to spend money now to ensure nothing goes wrong. I will be amazed if the England team hasn’t already secured the services of ex-SAS loons who can kill with a glance. It’s all a bit predictable.

Until, that is, you reach the section on security consultants Red24. This is where the story starts. Their head of corporate intelligence gets a mention and the chance to share his wisdom. He or someone else at Red24 also took the opportunity to pass on a “briefing document that Red24 provides its corporate clients, outlining the major security risks to the tournament.” These risks happen to be Al-Qaeda sympathisers in the local Somali community and England’s games against Algeria and Slovenia, although the latter are merely “potential flashpoints”.

I wouldn’t be at all surprised if this story developed because someone at Red24 saw a PR opportunity and a journalist took the bait. Expect more of this as the countdown to South Africa continues.

While safety considerations are also affecting ticket sales, Kevin Miles of the Football Supporters' Federation says the prices, climate, transport issues and uncertainty about personal safety are coming together to make South Africa a “much less attractive proposition” than Germany four years ago. Here’s the full report.

He has the energy and the drive you would expect of a former cross-country and sprint champion. Will James Milner be unleashed on unsuspecting defenders in South Africa? This article sets out the reasons why some of the other hopefuls should be wary of Villa’s 24-year-old midfield dynamo.

You may recall some reports about the Norwegian cycling from Europe to South Africa and collecting football shirts on the way (14th and 29th October 2009). Well, an Algerian has also set out on the long journey south. 36-year-old Fateh Saleh plans to walk 80km per day and arrive in time for his team’s opening group game against Slovenia on June 13th. Good luck to him.

The third in the Best World Cup Player of the Decade series follows this post.

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