A FIFA/AFC Regional Seminar for National Security Officers started in Kuala Lumpur on Thursday, marking the first time recently appointed security officers from AFC Member Associations to get together to discuss security matters.
The seminar started with an opening ceremony attended by AFC Deputy General Secretary Dato’ Windsor John, Football Association of Malaysia’s Security Committee Deputy Chairman Dato’ Osman Salleh and FIFA Senior Security Manager Serge Dumortier.
“It is FIFA and AFC’s objective to enhance the Member Associations’ and clubs’ educational programmes on stadium facilities and event operational issues,” said Dato’ Windsor during the opening ceremony. “The AFC’s focus on stadium and security matters is further underlined by the recent establishment of the AFC Stadia Safety and Security Unit.
“This seminar is an important element of that strategy. This is also the first time the recently appointed security officers from AFC Member Associations gather together to share their experiences and learn from each other and the experts present here.
“Millions of people follow football worldwide and when they make their way to the stadium to watch a football match it is our responsibility as competition organisers to ensure their safety. Fans everywhere should be able to enjoy the beautiful game without having to worry about their personal safety.
“The same of course goes for players, officials, team delegations and everyone else involved in our competitions. Guaranteeing their safety must be a first priority for us, the AFC and all of you, our Member Associations.
“Unfortunately security issues have been topping the international news agenda recently. The football community has to keep a close eye on these developments, as football is part of the society in which it develops. Football matches can be used as targets by terrorists and stadiums with thousands of spectators and many more TV viewers can be seen as perfect arenas for some interest organisations to publicise their views.
“In addition, and as sadly is often the case, all football fans do not attend live matches just for the thrill of an exciting game. Some individuals see them as a way to let out their aggression, on the expense of innocent fans. The Asian football community will stand united against these people by working together, with government and law enforcement authorities and experts in relevant fields.
“This seminar will provide the participants with an array of information about the key areas of safety and security matters involved in organising football matches, including venue and crowd management, how to deal with incidents such as terrorism or a fire, working with stewards, etc. We will also have an introduction to the FIFA Stadium Safety and Security Regulations and the FIFA integrity initiative.
“I hope you will enjoy the seminar and take away a lot of important information which you can start implementing and using in your work when you go back to your Member Associations. I thank you in advance for your full attention during these three days, and I wish you all the success in your new role as a national security officer, which is a key role in ensuring a successful future for football in Asia.”
Dumortier has explained the objectives of the seminar, saying: “The seminar aims to gather the national security officer of each member association to inform them on the FIFA Stadium Safety and Security Regulations.
“During the upcoming days of the seminar, we will also touch on the roles and responsibilities of national security officers, senior national security advisers and stadium security officers.
“An awareness session on the FIFA Integrity Initiative will also be delved into. During these sessions, we will have our expert speakers who will share their knowledge and experience, FIFA Security Consultant Deborah Doe and FIFA Security Officer Michael Kuchenbecker.”