Germany's 16 regional interior ministers met on Wednesday to finalize details for the World Cup security concept which will provide policing and emergency plans for the tournament being held in Germany next year.
The security plans will center on the prevention of hooliganism
The conference in Stuttgart was held to agree on a national security plan aimed at preventing hooliganism and potential violent crime in the twelve towns in which the games are to be played.
An estimated 3.2 million spectators are expected to attend the finals held between June 9 and July 9 next year.
"We have a gigantic task to fulfil," German Interior Minister Otto Schily told the meeting. "I am convinced we can provide optimal security, but despite the security measures, the atmosphere of the sporting event must not suffer."
The security concept includes provisions for permanent police, medical, fire and disaster protection deployments in the host cities while outlining contingency plans for possible "spontaneous" events such as rioting, terrorism and unrelated personal crime like muggings and robberies.
Video surveillance will be stepped up in general, although each federal state will decide on how much to expand it. Likely locations will be areas around large screens where games are projected.
Because of the expanded security presence needed, a block of vacations for up to 35,000 police officers will likely be put into effect.
Main focus on hooliganism
The main focus will remain the prevention of hooliganism. German police have a database of 6,800 known hooligans which will be monitored in the lead-up to the World Cup and will be brought into custody before games if security forces believe they represent a danger under new measures, which range from confiscating passports to taking trouble makers into custody.
The concept also addresses the problem of ticket scalping, the sale of tickets outside the stadiums which can allow rival fans to gain access to areas reserved for their rivals. While security measures have been employed to make sure that tickets at the World Cup are personalized and non-transferable, security chiefs want to ensure that the sale of illegal tickets is strictly controlled.
"We believe this will help prevent any trouble escalating," said Thomas De Maiziere, interior minister of Hesse.
Cross border cooperation needed
The state ministers are responsible for the concept for Germany while border protection and traveling fans in neighboring countries will be dealt with under a wider concept being developed by cooperating nations. Through this concept, it is hoped, known criminals and hooligans will be stopped before they become a problem for the German authorities.
Interior Minister Schily said a temporary introduction of border controls would not be ruled out, in the hopes that known hooligans from foreign countries would not make it into Germany.
Another area of concern is the possibility of terrorist attacks in areas where large crowds of people are gathered. The interior ministers at the meeting said there were no concrete indications that any groups were planning attacks, but said they were keeping potentially dangerous individuals from Islamist and other extremist circles under close watch.