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Volume 26 No. 60
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Report: French Authorities Downplayed WWC Security Concerns

The U.S. was concerned about thousands of American fans visiting France to support the USWNT

Security around the USWNT during the Women's World Cup is at the "highest levels," but some U.S. planners in the lead-up to the event were "concerned that the French authorities weren't taking it seriously enough," according to CBS' Roxana Saberi. U.S. security efforts include "plain clothes agents, a bomb-sniffing dog and a command center at the U.S. embassy in Paris." The U.S. State Dept. Bureau of Diplomatic Security "spent two years organizing (and) preparing to protect" the team, but concerns existed about what would be provided by the event itself because French authorities "weren't taking security seriously, allegedly making comments like, 'It's not the real World Cup, it's just the women.'" The U.S. had "concerns that tens of thousands of American soccer fans would be visiting France, a country with a history of terrorism." French authorities "call the allegation that they were dismissive of this event because it's the Women's World Cup 'stupid,'" and claimed the "presence of American security officials here is totally excessive considering the nature of this event" ("CBS This Morning," 6/17).

MORE CONTROVERSY: FIFA said that it was “wrong” of Grenoble security officials to “remove people campaigning for women to be allowed into Iranian soccer stadiums" from Saturday's Canada-New Zealand match. Stadium officials intervened when they “spotted T-shirts campaigning for women’s rights in Iran.” FIFA then “questioned the conduct of local organizers after reviewing the incident” (AP, 6/18).