An EPL-style "policy of separating rival fans at ANZ Stadium" is being hailed by National Rugby League side Parramatta and the league, which will "seriously consider making an Eels-Tigers clash a permanent Easter Monday fixture," according to Chris Barrett of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD. Parramatta and Wests Tigers played in front of 50,668 fans at ANZ Stadium on Monday, with Wests winning 21-18. The request has "a strong chance of being given the green light by the NRL." NRL Head of Football Todd Greenberg said, "We will always look favorably on building marquee matches into the schedule and particularly where we can work with clubs who support the strategies and that was evidenced [on Monday] by both clubs and their supporter bases being really heavily engaged in the pre-promotion of that game." The atmosphere at ANZ was "assisted by efforts to separate fans from both teams, a policy first implemented in a club game there when 74,549 Eels and Bulldogs fans split the arena right down the middle" for a semifinal in '09. The strategy is "not being forced on fans, they can choose to sit in any section of the venue" (SMH, 4/22).
Events and Attractions
A group of 22 military officers and agents from Brazil's Federal Police "recently received training from U.S. security firm Academi," according to the EFE. Academi, formerly known as Blackwater, held the training as part of an "exchange of experiences related to counterterrorism." Sao Paulo Special Operations Command (COE) Commander Ricardo Bussotti Nogueira said, "This is what we were sent for, because we are the specialized troops that will be employed to combat possible terrorist activity in Sao Paulo." The exchange was organized by Brazil's Extraordinary Security Secretariat for Large-scale Events (SESGE) (EFE, 4/21).
The stadium that will host the opening match of the 2014 World Cup "will not stage a test match in front of a full house before the tournament kicks off on June 12 because of building work being carried out in the arena," according to Andrew Downie of REUTERS. The Arena Corinthians was built to hold 48,000 and another 20,000 temporary seats "are being added for the World Cup." But with work in and around the ground still ongoing, 18,000 seats "will be left empty for the test event" featuring Corinthians and Figueirense on either May 17 or 18. Sao Paulo Deputy Mayor Nadia Campeao said, "The crowd (for the test match), under an agreement between Corinthians and LOC (Local Organising Committee) and FIFA, will be 50,000 people." There "were contradictory statements" from FIFA Secretary General Jerome Valcke about the issue on Tuesday. Valcke wrote on Twitter, "Next important event for us will be on 17 or 18 May when the first official test with full capacity will take place at Arena de Sao Paulo." But when challenged about the capacity for the test event, Valcke admitted "there would not be a full house and highlighted that South Africa also staged events before the 2010 tournament in front of reduced crowds" (REUTERS, 4/22).
The Int'l Sailing Federation's (ISAF) Extreme Sailing Series' Act 3 race will be "held in east China's coastal city Qingdao" from May 1-4. The race attracted 12 teams from 10 countries and regions. More than 70 sailors will compete, and 13 of them are Olympic Gold Medalists (XINHUA, 4/22). ... Russian Figure Skating Federation President Alexander Gorshkov said that Sochi is bidding to host the 2017 World Figure Skating Championships. Gorshkov said that the event "should be held at the 12,000-seater Iceberg Skating Palace in the Sochi Olympic Park." Gorshkov: "We've submitted a bid to the International Skating Union that we want to receive the 2017 world championships in Sochi" (R-SPORT, 4/22). ... The organizers of the Singapore Marathon are "looking into incorporating the new Sports Hub in Kallang into the route of the Republic's marquee running event and holding year-round community engagement activities." Organizers are "even contemplating bringing in celebrity names for a touch of glitz" (STRAITS TIMES, 4/22). ... The Int'l Tennis Federation will launch the ITF Junior Masters at "the beginning of next year in Chengdu, China, following a three-year agreement with the Chinese Tennis Association and the Chengdu Sport Bureau." The inaugural event is set for April 3-5, 2015, at the Sichuan Int'l Tennis Centre (PHNOM PENH POST, 4/22).