New Zealand beefs up security for World Cup

WELLINGTON - New Zealand has hired a private security firm to guard its players during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, New Zealand Football told local media yesterday.

WELLINGTON - New Zealand has hired a private security firm to guard its players during the 2010 Fifa World Cup, New Zealand Football told local media yesterday.

Chief executive Michael Glading told the New Zealand Herald his organisation had engaged a South African contractor whose firm had provided security in South Africa for the All Blacks and the Wellington Hurricanes rugby teams.

World Cup organisers have spent an estimated R1,6billion on security around the World Cup and have assured competing teams that every step will be taken to ensure their safety at the tournament. Glading said New Zealand would be among a number of countries that had put additional arrangements in place.

"We have hired a South African to oversee our security," Glading said.

"He will link up with the security Fifa provide and liaise between them and the team. We have hired his company so we are not sure if he will be by himself or come with an army, but he has a reputation as being one of the best in the business.

"Fifa are encouraging countries to have their own security as well as what they provide."

New Zealand will be based near Johannesburg throughout the tournament and will fly to the venues of its pool matches against Slovakia, Paraguay and Italy.

Italy and Germany have already indicated they will have private security for the World Cup, and Australia has said it will use "some local resources". Glading said the use of private contractors was prudent.

"Since the attack on the Sri Lanka cricket team (in Pakistan last year), all sporting teams have to be aware of their security," he said.

"It depends on where you go, but Africa would be one of the main danger areas. It's no great secret that South Africa is a country with a high crime rate so security will be important."

Glading said the New Zealand government might also send a small detachment of police to South Africa to assist in the protection of players, officials and their families. - Sapa-AP

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