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Dirty Tackle

FIFA vows tighter security for media after Maracana Stadium breach

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RIO DE JANEIRO — FIFA director of security Ralf Mutschke said Thursday he was embarrassed by the ease with which 90 Chilean fans — according to the Chilean consul — stormed the media center at Maracana Stadium in an attempt to gain access to the Chile-Spain game on Wednesday.

“It is embarrassing,” Mutschke said. "I think we have to protect journalists and the media and there's no doubt about it, we also have to protect the fans."

Chilean fans stormed through the tents that surround the media entrance and then crashed through some glass doors, which led to the media workroom where thousands of journalists were preparing to cover the match. The group weaved through a mess of tables, chairs and journalists toward the exit, which led to the field. Some took the exit while other toppled a wall and found themselves in a hallway where journalists on one side and security on the other ultimately trapped them. They toppled another wall into the media center as they looked for a way out.

Fans who gained access to the field were pulled out of the stands by security as well.

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All of the illegal entrants were forced to sit in the hallway of Maracana while security watched over them. They were ultimately walked out of the stadium, jailed and deported. They will not be allowed to enter any stadium for the rest of the World Cup and had 72 hours to leave the country.

Mutschke would not specify what measures were taken to beef up security at Maracana, but did say there would be a noticeable difference.

"We had meetings to assess the situation and make sure that this won't be repeated and I am confident that with the measures discussed we will avoid such an incident again," he said.

The media center was targeted probably because it was the least-guarded area around the stadium. Most entrances around the stadium have turnstiles that limit access to one person at a time and several armed police also are watching those entrances for unruly behavior. Two people with scanners that scan chips in media credentials and another two people who are watching the metal detectors man the media center. All are unarmed. The rest of the area is unmanned tents, which made it easy for the Chileans to bust through unthwarted. There were not enough security in the area to stop the breach, which led to the chaos.

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Only after the breach did armed police set up outside the media entrance to discourage any further attempts to get inside.

Hilario Medeiros, head of security for the local World Cup organizing committee, praised the way the onsite security guards handled the situation, especially with little violence involved. He also said security will be much better for Sunday's game between Belgium and Russia.

"For the next match we will be able to guarantee (security)," Medeiros said. "Obviously we're working on this day and night."

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Graham Watson is the editor of Dr. Saturday on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email her at dr.saturday@ymail.com or follow her on Twitter

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