Parliament committee to look at stadium safety

11th January 2006, Comments 0 comments

11 January 2006, HAMBURG - The German parliament committee responsible for sport will look at the safety issues surrounding World Cup stadiums raised by a consumer foundation.

11 January 2006

HAMBURG - The German parliament committee responsible for sport will look at the safety issues surrounding World Cup stadiums raised by a consumer foundation.

Stiftung Warentest reported that eight of the 12 stadiums to be used for the 2006 football World Cup are unsafe, four of them in a major way.

Committee head Peter Danckert said Wednesday there was still time to address the construction and fire protection deficits outlined in the report.

"There is enough time before the World Cup to correct the deficits in areas of fire protection, escape routes and evacuation possibilities," he said.

The Stiftung Warentest report released Tuesday said that there could be a disaster in Berlin's Olympic stadium (which is due to host the July 9 World Cup final) if mass panic broke out among spectators due to a lack of gates allowing fans to escape the tribunes on to the playing field in the case of an emergency.

The Olympic stadium has a moat in between the stands and the pitch as does the stadium in Leipzig.

The arenas in Gelsenkirchen and Leipzig were reported to have considerable construction deficits while Kaiserslautern's stadium had fire protection problems.

The foundation said that the other stadiums with "distinct" safety deficits are those in Hamburg, Frankfurt, Stuttgart and Dortmund.

The only stadiums which passed the inspection, even though they also had minor deficits, were those in Munich, Cologne, Nuremberg and Hanover.

The World Cup organising committee (OC) reacted with anger to the report while German Interior Minister Wolfgang Schaeuble warned in an interview with Wednesday's Berliner Zeitung newspaper against a hysterical reaction.

"There are still 150 days to go until the beginning of the World Cup for the views of the survey to be taken seriously," he said.

Schaeuble suggested the OC, construction ministry and local authorities should meet to discuss the Stiftung Warentest findings.

However, OC vice-president Horst R. Schmidt said he believed that Germany's World Cup stadiums were ready to host the event, which runs June 9 to July 9.

"We are sticking to this view. Our stadiums are safe," he said.

OC head Franz Beckenbauer reacted furiously to the report, even before its release.

"I have had enough of this army of know-alls and pompous people who want to make a name for themselves through the World Cup. Stiftung Warentest may be familiar with facial lotions, olive oil and vacuum cleaners. They should keep it that way," he fumed.

However, it now seems certain that there will be intense discussions to ensure adequate measures are in place in case of mass panic at a World Cup stadium this summer.

DPA

Subject: German news

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