A German parliamentarian has said there is "no cause for panic or hysteria" in response to the consumer group Stiftung Warentest’s safety assessment of the country’s World Cup stadiums.
The report gave four World Cup stadiums, including the one in Berlin, the "red card"
Deputy Interior Minister Christoph Bergner told a news conference that Germany had been holding major sporting events without incident for the past 60 years and there is no reason to believe that its venues are unsafe despite the recent damning report.
"Since 1946, we've not had a catastrophe in German stadiums, the sort of thing Stiftung Warentest has referred to, with corresponding fatalities," Bergner said. "I do not think it that likely that there will be a drastic need to act."
The Stiftung Warentest report stated that the stadiums at Gelsenkirchen, Leipzig and Berlin were unprepared for an emergency evacuation as there were no exits onto the pitch. The stadium at Kaiserslautern, where cracks were found in a stand last month, was referred to as "a fire hazard." The report caused outrage at the German Soccer Federation (DFB) and the World Cup Organizing Committee (OK).
Bergner, however, said Stiftung Warentest should be thanked for pointing out the problems but added they should not be thought of as grave deficiencies. He added that the German government's involvement in the construction of Leipzig's new stadium and renovation at Berlin had now ended and it could not be expected to finance any modifications that may be required.
Bergner also said that Germany would host a security conference at the end of March, with representatives from 40 nations as well as FIFA President Sepp Blatter and World Cup organizing committee chief Franz Beckenbauer.