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Security measures that caused rugby delays are here to stay, says defiant WRU

Enhanced security measures that caused thousands of rugby fans to miss the kick off for the Australia match are here to stay, said a defiant Welsh Rugby Union on Saturday evening. Rugby fans missed kick off for the opening autumn international because of huge queues to get into the Principality Stadium on Saturday. Supporters were left standing in the rain outside several gates as a result of enhanced security checks because of the unprecedented terror threat in the UK.

Fans queuing at the stadium as the game kicks off Fans queue at the stadium

Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early1 , with every supporter due to be searched for the first time ever . A warning was also issued stating large bags and umbrellas would not be allowed into the ground.

TV pictures inside the Principality showed scores of empty seats as the players emerged from the tunnel, with BBC TV presenter John Inverdale raising the issue on air . A crowd of more than 66,000 was due at the match. The WRU said after the match: “Enhanced security measures ensure everybody entering Principality Stadium is checked on arrival at the turnstiles . For the Under Armour Series, we have doubled the pre-game opening hours to three hours to give fans the opportunity to avoid the queues and we have made every effort to communicate to supporters to plan to arrive early and leave large bags and large umbrellas at home to avoid missing kick off.

“We received great support from all of our partners, including the media, South Wales Police and Cardiff Council, getting this message out in the build up to today s event.

“The safety and enjoyment of our visitors is of paramount importance.

“Welsh rugby fans are renowned for their contribution to the fantastic atmosphere inside the venue and vital support they give to the team on the pitch.

“Today thousands of fans enjoyed our new and improved pre-match entertainment schedule from three hours before kick-off, including live music and early bird offers at our retail units.

“It is important to stress that these security measures are here to stay and we don t want anyone to miss kick off.

“We will continue to urge supporters to allow more time for getting in to the stadium in future, as these checks are vital to the safety of all attendees.”

Thousands of fans remain in queues with just two minutes before the start of the game.

Tom Lee-wah from Cardiff said the price of the ticket didn’t warrant having to queue and miss part of the match. Another fan said she had been waiting for nearly half an hour in the rain.

“We’ve missed the great atmosphere now . Normally we like to go in and get a drink and take it all in before the match starts but we have missed all that.

“We were told we should come earlier because of the security check but we did come thirty minutes before kick off.”

Several fans took to social media to vent their frustration about the situation, with some describing scenes of chaos at the crowded gates. One, Tom Lewis, reported being stuck in a queue for an hour with no sign of movement, while fans at Gate 7 told WalesOnline they had no chance of making kick-off despite turning up 40 minutes before the scheduled start time.

Supporter Hattie Jones tweeted the Principality Stadium, saying: “We’ve been queuing for 65 minutes but are still told the queue is more than 60 minutes . Five minutes away from kick-off . Are there any refunds available.”

Cardiff MP Stephen Doughty called the crowd handling at Gate 1 an “utter shambles”. He said in a tweet he’d “never known it so bad in 18 years” and had reported his concerns to South Wales Police and the WRU.

There were also reports of female fans getting to the front of queues only to be sent to other queues by male stewards who were unable to search women. The WRU issued a detailed warning to fans earlier this week but it appears many were unaware just how thorough the checks would be in comparison to previous games. Small bags and handbags were permitted, provided they were no larger than 35cm x 40cm x 19cm.

References

  1. ^ Stadium chiefs had warned fans to get to the stadium early (www.walesonline.co.uk)

Security ‘at maximum’ for Champions League final in Cardiff after Dortmund explosions

Football bosses say security around all Champions League matches is at the maximum after a bus carrying the Borussia Dortmund team was hit by explosions on its way to a match.

On Tuesday night the team bus was rocked by three explosions as they made their way from their hotel to the stadium.1

The incidents occurred as the squad left their hotel en route to the Signal Iduna Park stadium for the first leg of the quarter-final tie, which was swiftly postponed. Defender Marc Bartra has undergone surgery on his arm after being injured in the explosions . A bone in his arm was broken and debris lodged in his hand.

The Champions League final is being held in Cardiff on June 3.

South Wales Police2 have said that the security operation is unprecedented . On Wednesday spokesmen for both Uefa and South Wales Police said the security operation ahead of the showpiece final has been going on for months and is already at its maximum.

A window of Dortmund’s team bus was damaged in the explosions Marc Bartra

South Wales Police staff will be joined by officers from all other Welsh forces to police the event. On the day of the final 1,500 officers will be in the city including armed patrols.

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Champions League

They have had 25 officers working on the planning for the event full-time so far and that number will be doubled as it draws nearer. There will be huge security measures in the city in the build-up to the event.

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In the wake of the Borussia Dortmund bus bombings Superintendent Steve Furnham from South Wales Police said: The events in Germany yesterday are being fully investigated by the German authorities and we cannot speculate on the matter.

Detailed safety and security planning and preparation for the Uefa Champions League Finals in Cardiff has been going ahead for many months.

Measures will be taken to restrict vehicular access to a number of areas within Cardiff.

Police officers and firefighters stand outside the Dortmund team bus after it was damaged

We are working with our partners here in South Wales as well as with other security forces across the country to ensure a safe and secure environment for the finals in June. The UK Government has given a 1.4m grant to South Wales Police towards funding the extra costs.

Uefa competitions director Giorgio Marchetti told the BBC: The security risk, I think, is the top priority element which is included in the preparation of the matches.

So for me as far we at Uefa know all security arrangements which are done by the clubs and the local police wherever a match is played is already at the maximum and all possible risks are taken into consideration.

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The Borussia Dortmund match has been rescheduled for Wednesday night. Mr Marchetti said that arrangements at the Westfalenstadion were being reviewed.

It s clear in light of what happened yesterday at the other venues which are concerned today measures are being currently reviewed and stepped up wherever and whenever is needed, he said.

German police are investigating an Islamist link to the bomb attack on the bus carrying the Borussia Dortmund3 football team last night, a report from the AFP news agency says. According to several local media outlets – S ddeutschern Zeitung, the NDR and the WDR – the one page letter begins: In the name of Allah, the Gracious, the Merciful.

The document is also claimed to refer to the attack on the Berlin Christmas market in December – and is also said to claim that German airplanes are involved in assassinating Muslims in the Caliphate of the Islamic State . One German newspaper says the letter claims the attack was aimed at the team because of the Syrian mission – which has resulted in sportsmen and other celebrities in Germany and other Crusading nations being put on a death list of the Islamic State. It goes on to claim the letter demands an immediate withdrawal of the (German air force) Bundeswehr Tornadoes from Syria as well as the closure of the American air base in Ramstein in Germany.

Controversial drone operations against alleged terrorists in the Middle East are controlled from the base.

References

  1. ^ from their hotel to the stadium. (www.walesonline.co.uk)
  2. ^ South Wales Police (www.walesonline.co.uk)
  3. ^ Borussia Dortmund (www.mirror.co.uk)

‘Get out or I’ll chuck you out’ Teenager grabbed around throat by security guard at Cardiff shopping centre

This is the moment a security guard at Cardiff s main shopping centre grabbed a 15-year-old boy by the throat and told him: Get out or I ll chuck you out . The incident, which happened at St David s Shopping Centre on Sunday afternoon, involved a group of friends. They had been skateboarding in the city centre and were heading to eat when they were approached by security officers and asked to leave.

A video of the incident – which has since been posted online – then shows one of the security guards grabbing one of the teenagers by the throat. The security guard has been suspended with immediate effect .

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The 15-year-old boy involved was Luther Small from Llanrumney, Cardiff. His mother, Carol, said: Luther doesn t really want to take things any further . He accepts the guy overreacted but doesn t want him to be suspended . It s just one of those things.

A video of the incident was posted online by Rhayna Mann, whose 15-year-old son, Riley, was also a part of the group of friends. Posting the footage to Twitter, she wrote: Disgusting . Appalling . Shameful.

Rhayna s husband, Jason Mann, added: My son and his friends were in Cardiff skating on Sunday . They decided to get some food at around 5pm.

Obviously one of the only places open at that time on a Sunday was St David s Shopping Centre.

They went in and took a seat in a caf , but they were approached by security and told they had to leave.

They were not misbehaving or playing up, but were told they had to leave because they had skateboards.

My son and his friends told the guards they didn t understand . They were only having food . They hadn t even skated inside the centre.

But security kicked them out . They tried their luck at another entrance and the security guards were waiting for them there.

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This is when Luther was grabbed by one of the guards. Jason says the management team at St David s have been in touch to explain the situation but the incident has left them feeling upset and angry.

Riley was OK when he came home – he skates a lot, so is used to having run-ins with people, Jason said.

But he s a good kid .

I m not just saying that as his parent – Riley is a bright and well-mannered boy.

His mum was upset when she saw the footage, but I was just angry that someone in a position of power would abuse their rights.

The boys are 15 at the end of the day . Even if they were mouthy and the security guard felt justified in throwing them out, you don t grab a young boy by the throat. Mark Nott, centre manager for St David s Cardiff, said: We have been made aware of this incident and the security officer involved has been suspended with immediate effect.

This is not the level of conduct we expect from our officers and we apologise to all parties involved.

A full investigation is now taking place and we are liaising with the customers concerned directly.

A spokeswoman for South Wales Police said: “We are aware of an alleged assault at St David s shopping centre, Cardiff, which occurred at approximately 8.30pm on Sunday, April 9.

“Enquiries in to the incident are ongoing.

“Anyone who witnessed the incident, or who has video footage which may assist with our enquiries, should contact 101 quoting reference 1700134453.”