Security is an increasingly complex part of major events, and Russia and Qatar are no exception
Michael Roberts, project stadia manager, INTERPOL
What are the main threats to Russia 2018? Violence and hooliganism springing out of the Euro 2016 events in Marseille particularly between English and Russians is one priority. Conflicts in the Middle East and counter terrorism also factor, as there’s been a long history of problems. Hooliganism took on a new paradigm in 2016. Individuals were well trained and organised, and very fit. They had mixed martial arts fighting gloves and mouth guards. There was even support shown for the fighters within the Russian government. However, the word from the ground during the event is that the problems came from Argentina and Brazil, with isolated incidents low-level conflicts [as of 3 July 2018].
How do you protect big events? Work together from early stages, and spend time years out doing test exercises and build up into multi stakeholder simulations. These build trust. The response is about understanding what can go wrong. The Boston Marathon attack, for example, had medical intervention pre-planned by the finish line, but a low death to injury count was perhaps down to the staff being prepared.
What new threats are emerging? Cyber warfare is an increasing threat now. Prior to Winter Olympics Opening Ceremony, the website received a denial of service attack.