‘You don’t see intel when it works’: German police chief praises Russia’s organization of World Cup

‘You don’t see intel when it works’: German police chief praises Russia’s organization of World Cup
German Federal Police Chief Dieter Romann praised the organizers of the 2018 World Cup in Russia, who have managed to prevent hooligan-related incidents, while assisting well-behaved fans.

Romann spoke highly of Russia’s Federal Security Service (FSB), saying: “the good work of intelligence services should not be seen. Therefore it’s organized very well.”

German law enforcement has cooperated with the FSB for many years in the fields of border control, document checks, among other things, the federal police chief told reporters at the FSB headquarters in Moscow. 

The World Cup has so far gone on without major incidents related to organized hooligan gangs – much dreaded by Western media. Russia has managed to achieve that by being well prepared and also through close cooperation with its foreign colleagues. Both have helped fans enter Russia and get around, while creating barriers for hooligans, Romann said.

“During the preparations for the World Cup, the so-called ‘fan passports’ have been introduced, which allow fans to enter Russia during the tournament visa-free. We’ve managed to block hooligans when they tried to leave [their countries] through cooperation and information sharing,” he said.

“If they attempt to use other routes, go through Riga or Turkey, we can find them with the help of the same information-sharing mechanisms.”

“We closely cooperate with foreign border guards. We’ve established close cooperation with our colleagues during the Confederation Cup already. Now we’re working in the same fashion, we have to work harder though,” Romann said, pointing to six German uniformed police officers deployed to Russia during the Cup.

The German officers also shared their impressions, pointing out the “positive atmosphere” working alongside their Russian colleagues. Apart from solving problems and working at passport control, the police officers made the German fans feel more at home simply by their presence. One policeman said: “Our compatriots who come here and see us, uniformed Federal Police officers, are pleasantly surprised.”

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