Russian organizers said that metal detectors for spectators "will be installed along the entire marathon course at the world athletics championships in August as part of increased security following last week's Boston bombings," according to Gennady Fyodorov of REUTERS. Russian Athletics President Valentin Balakhnichyov said, "It definitely has given us an extra headache. The security will certainly be reviewed after what happened in Boston. Airports, hotels, the transit system, places where you have lots of people, are always vulnerable." Balakhnichyov said the capital would have a "triple level of protection" during the Aug. 10-18 championships. He said, "The first level would be the Federal Security Service and the police, then we have the city's own security personnel, and, finally, the security in and around the stadium. At the same time we don't want to make Moscow a ghost town. We must make sure that spectators, including foreign guests, are not scared away by overzealous policing." Filling the spacious Luzhniki stadium "is the other major concern" for the local organizers. The championships "will be the last international event taking place at Luzhniki." After that, the arena, built in '56 and named after Bolshevik leader Vladimir Lenin, "will be closed for major renovations" for the 2018 World Cup. Balakhnichyov said that the arena's capacity of 78,000 "would be cut by half for the championships." He said, "If you take away seats occupied by TV commentators, print media and the VIPs, we'll have a capacity of about 35,000. I think this is a good target for us to fill all those seats" (REUTERS, 4/25).
Events and Attractions
London's Olympic Stadium "is set to host" as many as five fixtures at the 2015 Rugby World Cup, according to Ben Rumsby of the London TELEGRAPH. The centerpiece of the 2012 London Games is "at the heart of the match schedule" submitted by 2015 Rugby World Cup organizing committee England 2015 for approval by the Int'l Rugby Board, demonstrating just how crucial the stadium has become for tournament organizers since they were given more time to secure the venue’s inclusion. Staging five games at the arena "would help to solve the headache caused by the 11th-hour withdrawal of Old Trafford from the long list of venues," something that robbed England 2015 of ticket sales likely to exceed 225,000. With the Etihad Stadium stepping in for one match only and having made an £80M ($123.5M) revenue pledge to the IRB, organizers were "left with little option but to lean more heavily on the Olympic Stadium, which will have a minimum guaranteed capacity of 56,000 during the tournament" (TELEGRAPH, 4/24).
South Korea's Ballantine's Championship teed off "under a cloud Thursday after fears of an attack by nuclear-armed North Korea depleted the field" and forced organizers to seek advice on safety, according to the BANGKOK POST. The $2.8M Ballantine's Championship is "the golf-crazy country's only European Tour tournament but the competition was rocked this week" by the withdrawal of U.S. stars Zach Johnson and Dustin Johnson over "perceived unrest." On Wednesday, South Africa's Louis Oosthuizen, the top-ranked player at world No. 7, said that he had "received reassurances from his management and the European Tour and that 'everything is fine in the end.'" Oosthuizen: "I think something drastically needed to go wrong for me not to come. And I am glad I came" (BANGKOK POST, 4/25).
FC Barcelona has announced it will bring its summer tour of Asia to a close with matches in Bangkok on Aug. 7 and in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia on Aug. 10, but has ditched plans to stage a game in Shanghai (SOCCEREX, 4/25). ... Serie A administrators insisted that the Fiorentina's home match against Roma on May 4 should be rescheduled to avoid risks. Lega Calcio officials, however, have released a statement insisting that will be changed due to past incidences between fans (XINHUA, 4/24). ... The British round of motorsports governing body FIA's World Rally Championships will move to North Wales in November after being based in the south of the country since '00, organizers said on Thursday (REUTERS, 4/25). ... The Council for East and Central Africa Football Associations (Cecafa) Club Championships has been moved from Ethiopia to Sudan, a top football official said on Wednesday. Cecafa Secretary General Nicholas Musonye said that "the reason for the change would be communicated over the weekend or early next week" (XINHUA, 4/25).