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FIFA Land 2006 TM: Alliances between security politics and business interests for Germany's city network
Francisco R. Klauser, 2007
Conference lectured at the Symposium "Architectures of fear. Terrorismo and the Future of Urbanism in the West" CCCB 17-18 May 2007


Between 9 June and 9 July 2006, Germany became the centre of attention for millions of football fans globally, by hosting the FIFA football World CupTM (thereafter: World Cup). In the media, images of dancing, celebrating, smiling but also crying, drinking and sometimes fighting fans in different colours have been shown all over the World, suggesting how deeply the World Cup affected public life in Germany itself. In the most powerful way probably, the temporary reign of football over Germany’s city centres has been visualised through spectacular images of thousands of peaceful, football-watching fans in so-called “public viewing sites” or “fan miles”, which was later named Germany’s word of the year 2006.
Looking at media images is certainly a nice starting point to address the World Cup’s effects on Germany’s urban space, which is the main purpose of this paper. In this perspective however, to ask what media images have actually not shown might be at least equally important. For example, have we ever seen police forces with automatic weapons or armoured security vehicles, or the frequently shown, stereotypical images of Mexican fans with sombreros, Swiss fans with cowbells, dancing Brazilians etc? Or, have we ever seen close-up images of the 5.2 kilometre-long and 2.2 metrehigh security fence, surrounding Berlin’s famous fan mile between Berlin’s Brandenburg Gate and the Strasse des 17 Juni?
Within this paper, I focus my attention on this side of the World Cup. My main purpose is to point out through which actions and strategies, and with which consequences, security politics for the World Cup 2006 in Germany imposed their logic on urban space. In this, the Football World Cup 2006 in Germany is both understood as a key moment of “urban entrepreneurialism” (Harvey, 1989; Hubbard and Hall, 1998) in a global context and as a powerful illustration of the deep connection between security politics, economic interests and space.

Developments of security politics for mega sporting events

Given both the commercial and symbolic value of this internationally coveted entertainment show, the organisation of the World Cup not only raised major issues in terms of economic policy and private business interests, but also evoked increased local, national and international security concerns.
Regarding security politics for mega sporting events more specifically, recent examples – including the Olympic Games in Athens 2004 and in Turin 2005 – point towards four major developments, which together form the starting point of this paper.

Urbanisation of security issues

Mega sporting events are moving from host city to host city (Hiller, 2000). Firstly, their organisation and securitisation mainly constitute urban phenomena, even if their economic and social outputs are often expected to lie on a broader, national or international level. According to Boyle and Haggerty, “the primary fronts for security programs underwritten by recent developments are increasingly urbancentred. Security concerns are couched within, or coloured by, an urban frame of reference to the point that every security apprehension appears to be somehow urban and every urban issue is infused with security concerns. Mega-events figure prominently in the dynamics of this global re-calibration of security” (Boyle and
Haggerty, 2005, p. 4).
However, contrary to other mega sporting events, such as the Olympic Games for example, the Football World Cup did not concentrate on one particular urban site. While many national teams actually chose to prepare their games in relatively small villages, the organisation and securitisation of the games themselves above all affected 12 German cities with World Cup stadiums, where over three million foreign football fans, thousands of World Cup collaborators and hundreds of media representatives were concentrated.

Technologicalisation of security issues

Secondly, experiences in Athens, Turin and Germany powerfully exemplify the role of mega sporting events as test sites for increasingly complex high-tech security and surveillance devices. In this, a few examples give a flavour of the scale of the everincreased “security show” which accompanies mega sporting events. In Athens, for instance, the so-called “C4I-system” included thousands of computers, surveillance cameras (partially equipped with automated behaviour-recognition software) and microphones (able to analyse dozens of languages). This unprecedented science-fiction security system was modelled on a range of military technologies including underwater sensors, patriot missiles, zeppelins and US battleships. During the World Cup in Germany, the “nerve centre” for nationwide security operations was located inside the Interior Ministry in Berlin. Here, 120 security agents, equipped with monitoring screens, dozens of computers and sophisticated communication gear, brought together satellite views, close-up CCTV images from sports arenas and city centres and reports from police sources, the military and from intelligence services (Nickerson, 2006). On-the-spot, specialised police agents employed “fast identification” fingerprint devices for DNA analyses of suspect individuals (Bild, 2006).

Globalisation of security issues

Thirdly, mega sporting events provide an exemplary illustration both for the globalisation of social risks – such as terrorism, hooliganism and organised crime – and for the globalisation of security partnerships, risk norms and surveillance technologies. Two years before the football World Cup, Germany itself – together with Australia, France, Israel, Spain, the UK and the US – took part in the Olympic Security Advisory Group, which provided coordinated advice to Greece on its security planning (US
Government Accountability Office, 2005, p. 6).
During the World Cup, police officers from 13 countries were reported to join the German federal police, for the largest joint police operation in European history. Teaming up with German officers, international police agents were vested with similar competences as their German counterparts, including the power to arrest and expel fans of their own nationality. As the spokesman for Germany’s Interior Ministry pointed out in the press, “to give up that much sovereignty would have been unthinkable a decade ago” (Sachs, 2006; cited in Associated Press, 2006).

Commercialisation of security issues

Fourth, mega sporting events provide an exemplary illustration of the complex relationships between security politics, economic policy and private business interests (Horne and Manzenreiter, 2006). A growing body of theoretical and empirical research indeed focuses on the value of mega sporting events as “entrepreneurialist” strategies of public policy (Harvey, 1989; Hubbard and Hall, 1998), entitled to promote cities’ and nations’ tourist image (Hannigan, 1998; Fainstein and Judd, 1999), to facilitate urban transformations, to attract financial investments and, consequently, to produce economic developments (Euchner, 1999; Degen, 2004). As we see in official statements from the German government, the same logic also applied to the World Cup, which was presented by the German Interior Ministry as a unique opportunity for a “business location and image campaign” to promote Germany as both a “hospitable, cosmopolitan and modern country” and as a “strong and innovative place” (Schauble, 2006).
Yet, this highly revealing literature on mega sporting events in terms of city marketing and “place selling” (Philo and Kearns, 1993), usually tends to underplay or to ignore completely the business- relevant role of security politics. Consider, for example, Konrad Freiburg, head of the German police union, stating that “there would be terrible pictures seen all over the world – in which 200 mad neo-Nazis are being protected by a ring of 1,000 policemen from a counter-demonstration. This would be shameful. It’s not the image of Germany we want to present” (Freiburg, 2006; cited in Furlong, 2006). In this light, threats of terrorism and escalating hooligan or neo-Nazi violence were not only seen to endanger the population, but also to threaten the carefully constructed marketing image of an “enjoyable, colourful and secure World Cup” (Schauble, 2006).
However, the World Cup’s economic appeal cannot be reduced to its importance as a business location and image campaign for Germany in general, or for each host city in particular. On the contrary, the World Cup above all constitutes the commercial product of a powerful, profit-oriented global player: the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA). Even if the World Cup was financially supported by the German government, the Ldnder and the host cities, and even if the event was hosted by the German Football Association (DFB), it was officially organised by the FIFA. “This is not Germany’s World Cup, but FIFA’s World Cup”, FIFA president Joseph Blatter was famously quoted as saying in the press (Hanimann, 2006). This statement is of major importance for my following analysis, as it raises important further issues, regarding the relationships between the tremendous security efforts during the event and FIFA’s business interests in the World Cup.


Drawing on the interactions between processes of urbanisation, technologicalisation, globalisation and commercialisation of security issues for mega sporting events, this paper focuses on the role and significance of urban space within security and surveillance operations for the World Cup. In this, the basic line of my argument is that security politics during the World Cup not only tended to relate to specific categories of persons or social groups (Marx, 1988; Lyon, 2003) but also to select, classify, separate, differentiate, mark, arrange and control specific categories of space. The functioning of security and surveillance operations, their scope, impact and the risks they pose can thus not be understood without referring to the territories concerned and created by their spatial deployment and by their performance. Investigating the spatial characteristics of security operations and strategies is not only of major importance to understand how they address different types of risks in the urban environment, but also to study how security operations give rise to cumulative effects on public urban order.
It is from this standpoint that I focus my primary attention on the relationships between security politics and business interests during the World Cup. In this, my objective is to point out through which strategies, and with what consequences, security efforts and business interests have been combined and thus together imposed their logic on urban space in Germany. While, as I have been arguing before, a whole range of different commercial and economic interests have been linked to the organisation of the World Cup, this paper especially addresses FIFA’s efforts to impose the exclusivity of its sponsors within the urban environment.
In order to address these issues, this paper concentrates on three examples, whose analysis not only largely draws upon official documents from public authorities, the police, the FIFA and from relevant security companies but also on a series of media reports about the World Cup: Sites for public viewing events (1), security rings around World Cup stadiums (2) and city centres as a whole (3).

Public viewing events

Securitisations of public viewing events

I now move to the main thrust of my paper, which consists in analysing how, during the World Cup, urban space became invested, differentiated and hierarchically organised by combined security operations and commercial interests. In this respect, my first example refers to public viewing events.
Conceived as central meeting spots for fans without match tickets, public viewing sites in most German cities actually allowed supporters to watch football games on massive video screens in public places within city centres. Securing these publicly accessible places at risk became one of the main focuses for both German police forces and private security staff, which were hired by the commercial organisers of the events. “We especially focus on the relatively new phenomenon of watching matches on big screens. These will be public events affecting the entire country”
(Schauble, 2006).
Clearly separated from their surroundings by fences, subsequently planned and organized and often architecturally conceived like sport arenas with public stands, public viewing sites were in many ways treated like stadiums. They generally included different sectors (such as special children’s sections and sectors which were liable to pay costs), spot checks on onlookers, freshly installed CCTV cameras and specific legal regulations. According to these regulations, people with stadium bans or with a blood alcohol level of more than 160 millilitres were banned from public viewing events.
Generally speaking, public viewing sites above all made it possible to concentrate fans in specific points in the city. They hierarchically invested (selected, classified, separated, symbolically marked, materially arranged and controlled) particular portions of space, while other areas remained less considered. These differentiations of the city were further strengthened by the uneven development of security infrastructures such as CCTV, and by the increased presence of police and private security agents within public viewing sites.

Commercialisations of public viewing events

However, spatial differentiations on the basis of public viewing events not only corresponded to functional differences and to different security standards, but also to different degrees of commercialisation between inside and outside. Fences around public viewing events not only separated specific risk spaces, but also marked the spatial limits of FIFA’s sphere of influence within the urban environment, given the fact that FIFA completely controlled and managed the organisation and marketing of public viewing events. Indeed, these events helped push forward FIFA’s power to materially and symbolically produce their own, commercially useful urban environment in at least three ways.
Firstly, public viewing events principally had to be registered and licensed by the Swiss company “Infront Sports”, FIFA’s television partner and the holder of all public viewing rights in Germany. Depending on the classifications of the event as commercial or non-commercial, public viewing licences were liable to pay costs.
Secondly, FIFA controlled the symbolical marking of these fan festivals through the prescription of brands and advertising boards to be displayed. In this, prominence was given to the signage and products of FIFA sponsors (Wilson, 2006). Other sponsors were only admitted in non-host cities, as long as they were not competitors with official FIFA partners. In this way, FIFA succeeded in creating a “clean”, commercially useful environment for its official partners’ wares and advertising banners. Consequently, many of the most prominent urban squares in German city centres were invested with FIFA interests for the whole duration of the World Cup. In Cologne, for example, the public viewing site on the famous Roncalliplatz not only offered splendid views of the Cathedral but also of the prominently positioned Hyundai exhibition model beside the large screen.
Thirdly, FIFA also managed the material dimensions of public viewing events, their separation from the surrounding urban environment and their internal subdivisions and arrangements. Although public viewing events strictly concerned public space, FIFA had to give their approval for any extension of the events’ size, to comply, for example, with the wishes of many cities after the first round of the World Cup
(Stadionmelt and DPA, 2006).
Even if FIFA’s power were considerable, public viewing events also satisfied other commercial interests. In Cologne, for example, places on covered stands within the public viewing site were sold for nearly 100 Euros (Stadt Kóln, 2006). In seven German cities, public viewing events relied on generalised admission fees (Munich and six nonhost cities). Here, entrance fees started at 3.30 Euros for standing room during the first round, reaching 96.30 Euros for the “VIP Silver” category (including lounge and catering service) for the final game. “Season tickets” valued between 199 Euros and 3,298 Euros, without any reductions for children or elderly people available
(Südkurve Deutschland, 2006).

Security ring around the stadiums

Securitisations of the security ring around stadiums

The so-called outer security ring around all World Cup stadiums provides a second, powerful example of how security politics resulted in new differentiations and hierarchisations of city space, expressed as different types of constraints and stipulations both for security and business reasons.
As far as 1 kilometre from the stadium (depending on the city), this “outer security-ring” constituted the first, clearly fenced barrier to the stadium for arriving fan groups. Restricted to holders of match tickets, accredited staff, members of the press and other authorised persons, the enclosed area was closed to the general public for the whole duration of the World Cup.

Access control

Comparable to other geographical scales and to other categories of risk places, spatially anchored security strategies for the outer security ring around the stadiums were mainly based on access control.
On a technical level, access control measures relied on RFID (radio frequency identification) chips in all tickets, which included personal information about the ticket holder that was verified at the entrance gates. In addition, CCTV allowed the recording of the biometric facial features of suspected hooligans, which could be checked in real time against photos stored in a central database (Blau, 2006). Already before the World Cup, all ticket holders, accredited journalists, guests and officials had to undergo strict identity checks, according to their function and risk-profile. The security authorities did not have to give a reason to “undesirable” people, as to why a World Cup accreditation was denied. Without going into any details here, we therefore see that access control was strongly linked to access restrictions for specific, undesirable individuals and social groups.
In terms of its spatial logic, access control is particularly interesting, as it aims to create safe and risk-free places by controlling flows (of people and objects), which are crossing the border-line between inside and outside, at particular points in space. Access control thus perfectly illustrates the fundamental spatial logic of security politics, which consists in selecting, classifying, differentiating, arranging and controlling specific portions of space, without according the same type of attention to the whole urban (or national) territory. Access control above all aims to guarantee the correct functioning of separated, differentiated and hierarchically organised parts of the urban environment, often carried to the point of complete segregation between indoor (secured) and outdoor (unsecured) space.

Internal measures

Regarding the internal security and surveillance measures of the outer security ring, a large amount of high-tech security devices were used by the stadium’s security staff, such as robots to check the inside and surroundings of the stadiums for bombs before matches. In addition, more than 15,000 private security agents were temporarily engaged by the FIFA, mainly for security purposes within the outer security rings of the stadiums and for ticket controls (Borchers, 2006), which provides an exemplary illustration of the importance of public-private security partnerships during the World Cup.

Commercialisations of the security ring around stadiums

The clear partition of the stadium’s surrounding area from the rest of the city again allowed FIFA to impose its own, spatial rationality and commercial branding. Some time before the World Cup, the whole outer security ring had to be handed over to FIFA as “neutralised space”, with all signs of advertising and sponsorship removed (point 8.1 from the FIFA specification for the organisation of the World Cup in the “FIFA Pflichtenheft”). In order not to compete with FIFA sponsors’ interests, local car garages thus had to remove their advertising brands (because of the exclusivity of Hyundai as official FIFA sponsor) and restaurants had to hide their outside beer signs (advertisement reserved for Budweiser).
This condition had to be signed by the German government and by each host city before even knowing whether Germany could organise the World Cup (Pfeil, 2005). Its importance points out how deeply security issues were combined with appeals of mass marketing: spaces near the stadiums had to be separated from their surroundings not only to provide a risk-free games, but also to provide the privileged stage for branding and advertising strategies and thus to become commercially invested (symbolically marked and materially arranged) by FIFA sponsors.
To guarantee the FIFA sponsors’ exclusivity, seven of 12 stadium’s were renamed as “FIFA World Cup stadiums”, because their original denomination contained the name of a commercial company. In Munich and Hamburg, the huge sponsor’s name outside the stadium even had to be removed by crane (Wilson, 2006).
Furthermore, FIFA did not only control the materiality of the stadium’s surroundings and its name, but also fans within the arenas. Before the game between the Netherlands and Ivory Coast for example, FIFA collaborators found Dutch fans guilty of ambush marketing because of the logo of a Dutch beer company – which was not one of the official FIFA sponsors – on their orange dungarees. Consequently, hundreds of fans had to take off their trousers before entering the “security ring” around the stadium.

City centres

Securitisations of city centres

Despite the strategies and instruments which were used to separate, differentiate, categorise and arrange urban space into small, hierarchically organised spatial entities, spatially more diffuse risks, such as terrorism, still affected whole city centres. Yet, despite the extended geographical scale and the incalculable nature of any terrorism threat in both its manifestations and in its extent, relevant security operations were still governed by specific spatial logics.
Firstly, security strategies to address spatially widespread social risks basically focussed on the increased control of strategic nodal points, such as railway stations or airports. In Munich, for example, an additional 542 surveillance cameras were installed to monitor the central points of the local transport network (Münchner Verkehrsgesellschaft, 2004). Through these measures, fan movements were organised to move in relay from point to point. Supporters came together at certain strategic points and then continued along fixed paths and at fixed speeds. As another form of access control, security operations for larger urban areas again concentrated on specific points in space, where movements both within the city and between cities could be most accurately regulated and controlled.
Secondly, security operations to counteract spatially and temporarily diffuse risks, such as terrorism, were not only associated with nodal points of strategic importance, but also focussed on particular points in space which – because of their qualities and functions – were exposed to increased security concern. Besides World Cup stadiums, whose securitisation has been discussed beforehand, examples include hotels and training grounds for national teams, the FIFA main quarter in Berlin, particular VIP hotels, the referee’s main quarter near Frankfurt and the international media centre in Munich (Sengle, 2005, p. 9). In principle, each of these “islands of security” could provide the basis for a more precise analysis of how specific portions of space were marked and arranged both physically and abstractly by fences, patrolling police agents, Thirdly, the German state also responded to spatially and temporarily diffuse social risks through the installation of additional surveillance devices such as CCTV in most public places in city centres and through the valorisation of new forms of both public-private partnerships and police-army collaborations. For example German military forces were stationed in all host cities, in order to intervene immediately in any state of emergency. Although the constitutional clarification demanded by Germany’s Supreme Court had not been reached before the World Cup to clarify the use of military forces for public safety, military medical corps, ABC defence corps, sappers, military police with explosive-detector dogs, helicopters and military planes would have been ready to intervene on the ground, from the air or from the sea (Streitz and DPD, 2006). Above the city, in order to assert a 5.4 kilometre airplane exclusion zone, Germany also asked for the assistance of two NATO Airborne Warning and Control System planes (Awacs) (Bittner and Klenk, 2006, p. 10), which again points out the high valorisation of globalised solutions for globalised security threats.

Commercialisations of city centres

Large urban areas not only presented particular difficulties for security measures but also for FIFA’s branding attempts. Comparable to the above described focus of security operations on specific nodal points within the urban environment, FIFA therefore concentrated its branding strategies on railway and metro stations (officially named “FIFA railway stations” during the World Cup), where its official sponsors were guaranteed exclusive advertisement rights on contractually fixed advertisement boards. Besides its efforts to create branding space for sponsors, FIFA also tried to counteract branding strategies of other companies. FIFA collaborators were indeed reported (and confirmed) to monitor and report slowly driven cars in city centres, carrying mobile advertisements during the World Cup (Bark, 2006).
Eventually, no-fly zones above stadiums also provided a good opportunity to counteract airplanes flying over stadiums with advertising banners. Some months before the World Cup, this highly irritating advertising strategy in FIFA’s eyes had been seen during the Confederations Cup, the World Cup preparatory football tournament in Germany.

Conclusion: nothing is impossible?

The given examples have repeatedly underlined the combined logics of security politics and business interests to select, classify and separate, but also to symbolically mark, materially arrange and control specific portions of space within the urban environment. They have strongly highlighted the attempts to reconfigure the urban environment into small, hierarchically organised spatial entities for both security and branding purposes. In this, we must understand security operations in the context of major sporting events as one, symptomatic aspect of a broader cluster of developments within security politics, which are giving rise to new and profound social preoccupations.
To conclude, I would like to mention one specific form of popular resistance to these developments, which consisted in a satirical send-up of FIFA’s power to pro-duce its own, commercially attractive urban environment. In Dortmund, official-looking fake letters with wrong information about the rules to be followed around stadiums were anonymously distributed via the post to local residents. According to this letter, residents within a 3-kilometre perimeter of the stadium not only had to pay 10 Euros to purchase an official permit to access their homes (which was not true because this permit was free for residents, even though they had to apply for it themselves), but were also forbidden from buying any other products than from official World Cup sponsors. Finally, according to the letter, all windows had to be closed during the commercial breaks on TV.
Public reactions to this letter provide quite an alarming illustration of the broader social effects of the combination of commercial (FIFA) interests and spatially anchored security strategies. As a result of the letter, Dortmund’s City helpline broke down because of the massive amount of residents’ calls. According to media reports, most residents who called had actually believed the letter but did not know how to fulfil the conditions. Many people were reported to worry whether they had to pay the 10 Euros per day. Others had been asking how they could know which products they
weren’t allowed to buy (Ruhrnachrichten, 2006).
In this light, if masses of citizens really believe that windows have to be closed while watching TV, or that they are not allowed to purchase particular products for several weeks, how should we not worry about the combination of security politics and commercial interests, assimilated with mega sporting events? These reactions raise important questions about public feelings of uncertainty, regarding the effects of the ever-increasing dominance of business interests over both individuals’ private and public lives. In this light, consideration must also be given to the implications of the increasingly strong relationships between processes of securitisation and commercialisation of space more generally. For example, it seems worthwhile to enquire about the effects of these developments on trust in urban governance and public policies more generally.

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