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BERLIN (AFP) - German consumer protection watchdog Stiftung Warentest has warned of "serious deficiencies" in security at four of the 12 stadiums to be used during the football World Cup finals starting in June. |
The independent group released a study Tuesday showing that the Olympic Stadium in Berlin, the Veltins Arena in the western city of Gelsenkirchen and Leipzig's Zentralstadion in eastern Germany were ill-equipped to cope with a s$$pede.
The study, presented at a news conference by one of its authors, Hubertus Primus, found that there was no plan to allow fans to enter the pitch in case of a mass panic.
"When there is a panic, the crowd keeps moving without thinking," Primus said.
The group identified a fourth stadium -- Fritz Walter in the southwestern city of Kaiserslautern -- that had serious faults in terms of fire protection.
The study, which was undertaken last September and October, found that two-thirds of the venues to be used during the World Cup failed to comply with security guidelines established by the international soccer body FIFA.
The study, some aspects of which were leaked in advance, sparked an angry reaction from the president of the World Cup's organizing committee, Franz Beckenbauer.
"Stiftung Warentest may know about face lotions, olive oils and vacuums. That's what they should stick with," he told the mass-circulation daily Bild.
The World Cup will kick off June 9 in the southern city of Munich, with the final match scheduled for July 9 in Berlin.