POSTED: October 23rd 2016
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DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ: The Role of Safety and Security for the 2024 Summer Olympics Bid Cycle

Budapest © Bigstock
Budapest © Bigstock

Los Angeles © Bigstock
Los Angeles © Bigstock

Paris © Bigstock
Paris © Bigstock

THE DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ COLUMN in SHANGHAI / An authoritative and exclusive series from Sports Features Communications

(SFC) In looking at the many issues that an Olympic bid must consider, at the top of the list for the bid committees, potential attendees, and certainly the IOC is the issue of safety and security during the Games for participants and spectators.  As political, economic and social issues permeate the landscape of the world, the issues of terrorism, refugees, and risk - among many others - takes center stage when planning a mega-event such as the Summer Olympic Games.  We take a look at some of the plans of the remaining three bid cities...

 

According to the candidature documentation of the Budapest 2024 bid, they have emergency and disaster response capability from their National Directorate for Disaster Management (OKF) within the Ministry of Interior, led directly by the Prime Minister, and is responsible for 'identifying and monitoring critical infrastructure in Hungary and undertaking civil emergency and defence planning' in coordination with national fire and law enforcement bodies'.  Hungary promotes itself as being 'a generally low-risk security environment with well-rehearsed and well-resourced response capability' in the areas of fire, intrusion into Olympic facilities, civil disobedience, crime, telecommunication and technological risks, terrorism, traffic, natural catastrophes, and situations that may arise.

 

As a host of many international sport and entertainment events, Los Angeles has had much experience in the areas of safety and security, including running numerous National Special Security Events (NSSE) over the past 15 years since 9/11.  This is defined as an event of national or international importance where the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) will take the lead in ensuring the event does not become a potential target for terrorism and criminal activity.  They have the full support of all governmental agencies...   event security is run by the United States Secret Service - the same people who protect the leaders of the United States, intelligence is run by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) in charge of recovery management should there be an incident.  So effectively the entire capability of the United States government is behind protecting major events such as a Summer Olympics.

 

In Paris, they passed a big test with minimal incidents while hosting the EURO 2016 despite still being on high alert as a result of the terrorist bombing from November 2015.  Additional security measures have been put in place for all sporting events, and through this heightened measure, there have been no incidents since. According to Olympic Committee President Denis Masseglia "It has been important to prove that our system - to guarantee everybody's security - is the best system."    According to the candidature file, their risk analysis is 'consistent with ISO3100 risk management guidelines' and 'was completed in collaboration with the Ministry of the Interior, Internal Security and Local Rights', and has addressed many of areas including fire, intrusion into Olympic facilities, civil disobedience and crime, terrorism, technology and telecommunications, traffic, and natural catastrophes.  Two of those areas specifically mentioned by the bid committee as needing special focus because of their medium to high risk are civil disobedience and terrorism.  

 

As appropriately stated by French President Francois Hollande, nobody has an 'idea how the world will look like in 2024, but it will be necessarily dangerous... [and] there is not a single country or capital that might think it will be immune."  A prophetic statement - and it seems all three bids have plans in place to ensure the safety and security for all should they be selected as the host for the 2024 Summer Olympic and Paralympic Games at the vote during the 130th Olympic Session in Lima, Peru next September.

 

**DR. ERIC C. SCHWARZ is a tenured Senior Lecturer of Sport Management at Victoria University in Melbourne, Australia. He has been an academician for 15 years in the areas of sport business management, international tourism, and hospitality management - with special focus on the areas of sport marketing, sport finance, tourism, and facility/event management. He speaks globally and is the author of numerous publications in these areas, as well as been actively involved in consulting projects working with a multitude of sport and community organizations ranging from grassroots efforts to hallmark events.  


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