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Russian football faces global threats and cannot fight them alone - ICSS president

November 11, 2014, 19:42 UTC+3 MOSCOW
Instances of violence, corruption and misconduct, match-fixing, drug-trafficking, illegal betting, discrimination are among the problems that sport must urgently confront
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President of the International Center for Sport Security (ICSS) Mohammed Hanzab

President of the International Center for Sport Security (ICSS) Mohammed Hanzab

© Yuri Mashkov/TASS

MOSCOW, November 11. /TASS/. Boasting world class players and top clubs, the Russian Football Premier League (RFPL) is one of the best on the planet, but it needs protection in the face of global threats, which it cannot fight alone, President of the International Center for Sport Security (ICSS) Mohammed Hanzab said on Tuesday.

“Russia is a powerful voice in the European and world football. And with some of the best players and top clubs of the world, the RFPL is one of the strongest leagues on the planet,” Hanzab, who is currently on a visit to Moscow, said. “But it too needs protecting. The threats to sport are global and Russian football cannot fight these threats alone.”

“The threat to sport is now unprecedented. Instances of violence, corruption and misconduct… match-fixing, drug-trafficking, illegal betting, discrimination - these are just some of the problems that sport must urgently confront,” Hanzab said.

“In the next decade Russia will host several high-profile international sport events. It must be ensured it is solidly protected against these threats,” the ICSS president added.

RFPL signed on Tuesday a landmark partnership deal with the ICSS in a bid to protect the country’s top football division from possible threats to the safety, security and integrity of the sport.

“At the ICSS, we believe that governments and governing bodies must take a lead and be at the forefront of the fight to protect sport,” Hanzab said after the signing of the partnership. “I would like to thank the RFPL for partnering with the ICSS and would urge other organizations to show the same courage and leadership to confront the many new threats to sport that are emerging on the horizon.”

The ICSS president said that his organization was here not only to help Russia to provide security and safety at football matches but “we, as an organization, are also here to learn from Russia all the best practices for the benefit of the world.”

One of the journalists reminded Hanzab that Russia held this year a high-profile global sports event, which was the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games in Sochi, and asked the ICSS president what practices his organization could possibly learn from Russia.

“Regarding Sochi it was a big success in terms of safety and security. We [ICSS] sent a team to visit in Sochi for the Winter Olympics and they were so happy about the use of technology, especially in safety and security [sphere]. The technology that was in use was so advanced.”

RFPL became the first Russian sports federation to enter an agreement with the ICSS as Russia is gearing up to host a number of large-scale international sports events over the coming decade, including the 2017 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2018 FIFA World Cup.

The memorandum was signed during a press conference in TASS by RFPL President Sergey Pryadkin and ICSS President Hanzab in the presence of ICSS Director General Helmut Spahn, Chief Executive of ICSS for Europe Emanuel Macedo de Medeiros, RFPL Security Director Alexander Meitin and RFPL spokesman Sergey Alekseyev.

“As part of the partnership and their commitment to safeguarding sport, the RFPL and ICSS will work together on a number of events, initiatives and training programs which will enhance sport safety, security and integrity in Russia and protect RFPL officials, coaches, players and young athletes around the country,” the RFPL and ISCC said in their joint statement on Tuesday.

“Following the recent joint inspection by FIFA of the 2018 World Cup venues and stadiums, the RFPL will also utilize the ICSS’s technical expertise and global programs to develop and enhance best practice in the security design of sports facilities, as well as safety and security standards in and around RFPL matches,” the statement added.

A joint delegation of FIFA representatives and Russia’s Local Organizing Committee inspected on October 16-23 the construction and the state of readiness of Russian stadiums, which were selected to host the World Cup matches in 2018. Christian Unger, the head of FIFA 2018 football championship preparation department, said following the delegation’s visit that he was satisfied with Russia’s preparations for the world championship.

The ICSS is an international, independent and not-for-profit organization. With an aim to improve security, safety and integrity throughout the world of sport; the ICSS works with governments, federations, clubs, leagues and event organizers. The ICSS provides expertise, services and global knowledge - advising on event and venue safety, strategic security and investigations into corruption in sport.

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