Sunday, July 15, 2007


Security, crowd control and an act of kindness

To get inside the stadium we first had to squeeze through a narrow steel gate that was only slightly ajar. Not just us but hundreds of others, optimistically waving our tickets in the air. Inside this cordon some bags were briefly searched. As we passed various vendors and ticket touts we had to go through yet another ticket check. Now we we within touching distance of the stadium.

We queued at our appointed gate. One man at the front was kicking up a fuss because while he had a ticket his son didn't but he still wanted to get him in for free. Which of course happened. One more bag check and we were in. We found our seat numbers and drank in the atmosphere. As the game started people started climbing the fence into the next, less full, paddock while the watching security personnel sat playing with their mobile phones. Towards the end of the first half more people arrived who most obviously didn't have tickets for this area. They also passed between paddocks freely. Which of course makes a whole mockery of the earlier elaborate precautions doesn't it. Touts, free seating, free movement within the stadium.

As we walked round the stadium I saw a well off Indonesian supporter approach a road sweeper and give him a ticket. Nonplussed the sweeper stood paralysed, looking from the ticket to the donor who soon disappeared into the crowd. I have no idea if the worker kept the ticket or sold it.

After the game the Saudi fans next to us were treated to a barrage of missiles but judging by the way they floated slowly to earth they weren't to heavy. Indonesian police put on their riot helmets and bravely stood in the face of this attack while the fans made for cover.

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