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Dec 13, 2012

FIFA allays World Cup safety fears

FIFA insists there should be no concerns about security at the 2014 World Cup in Brazil in the wake of the violent scenes that marred the Copa Sudamericana final.

Sao Paulo were crowned champions of the continental competition on Wednesday after Argentinian side Tigre refused to take to the field for the second half of the second leg in Brazil, claiming they were threatened at gunpoint by security officials at the Estadio do Morumbi, which was overlooked as a host stadium for the World Cup.

Tigre's refusal to restart the game followed angry confrontations between players from both clubs as they exited the field at half-time with Sao Paulo leading 2-0.

It is as yet unclear if Sao Paulo will be punished or if Tigre will face sanctions for failing to play, with CONMEBOL official Romer Osuna dismayed at the way events unfolded.

"The referee abandoned the game because it was not right to play on," Osuna said. "This decision is final. It is a shame that a continental final finished in this fashion.''

The incident has led to worries being expressed about the security arrangements at Brazilian stadia ahead of the 2013 Confederations Cup and 2014 World Cup in the country, but FIFA is confident that both events will be perfectly safe.

"FIFA cannot comment on the incidents at the match in question, as FIFA were not involved in this match operation," a statement from world football's governing body read.

"However, for the FIFA Confederations Cup and the FIFA World Cup there will be a comprehensive security concept for the stadiums in place developed by the local organising committee together with the respective authorities and reviewed by the FIFA security experts.

"The FIFA Confederations Cup will be the first football competition in Brazil to use mainly private stewards for safety and spectator services as it is already a standard procedure in many countries around the world.

"This is already a legacy as through this initiative more than 30,000 security officers will be trained and certified to work during the FIFA Confederations Cup and FIFA World Cup in Brazil. FIFA has full confidence in the security arrangements developed.''

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