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Situation Update - United Kingdom

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SECURITY HIGH FOR ICC WORLD CUP, 30 MAY-14 JULY 2019

  • 12th edition of ICC World Cup to be held in England and Wales, 30 May-14 July

  • Games to be played at 11 venues across England and Wales

  • Tournament will involve a total of 48 one-day games, involving ten teams

  • Ten warm-up matches to be played 24-28 May

  • Opening Party to be held on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, Central London, 29th May

  • Upcoming Trophy Tour dates: Brighton (18 May) and London (19 May)

  • A strong focus on tournament security has been reported by the International Cricket Council (ICC) amid various geopolitical tensions and international and domestic terrorism threats

  • Non-associated protest actions expected in London (3-5 June) and Bristol (1 June) during event

Cricket world-cup-trophy-2019
Situation

The 12th edition of the ICC Cricket World Cup will be held at 11 venues across England and Wales from 30 May to 14 July. The main tournament consists of a round robin stage involving all ten teams, which will be followed by a knock-out phase involving the four top teams.

Games will be played at: Trent Bridge (Nottingham), The Riverside Durham (Durham), The Oval (London), Old Trafford (Manchester), Lord’s (London), Headingly (Leeds), Hampshire Bowl (Southampton), Edgbaston (Birmingham), County Ground Taunton (Taunton), Cardiff Wales Stadium (Cardiff), and Bristol County Ground (Bristol). Old Trafford, and Edgbaston will serve as semi-final Venues, with Lord’s hosting the final.

Additional ICC events will include ten warm-up matches, played between 24-28 May, a final pair of Trophy Tour dates in Brighton (18 May) and London (19 May), and an Opening Party to be held on The Mall, in front of Buckingham Palace, from 15:30-18:00 BST on 29 May. Various public screening events will also be hosted outside the stadia and in different facilities and locations. 

Ahead of the World Cup, several key international security incidents and geopolitical events have required the ICC to re-address its venue/event security. This includes the recent terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, which the Bangladeshi team narrowly avoided, and the Easter Sunday bombings in Sri Lanka. In addition, heightened geopolitical tensions between India and Pakistan led to reports that India could boycott its scheduled game with Pakistan, which is due to be held at Old Trafford on 16 June. 

The ICC have confirmed that the 2019 World Cup has a full, dedicated security team working on plans for a safe and secure tournament for all participants and spectators. In particular, they are working with police in all host cites and the national security services to ensure the security provided at the tournament is of the highest order, while existing security staff at all World Cup host venues are receiving additional training in the build-up to the tournament. 

There will be enhanced security plans at all host venues with visible security measures taking place, as well as other non-visible measures happening throughout the tournament, inside and outside the stadiums. 

ICC Chief Executive, speaking after the New Zealand attack, confirmed that if the threat level should rise in any way prior to or during the tournament, security will be further upgraded beyond existing plans. 

Although not targeting the World Cup events, several noteworthy demonstrations are expected during the tournament. In London, hundreds of thousands are expected to protest on 3-5 June against the state visit of US President Donald Trump, and in Bristol, Extinction Rebellion is planning to target the Cabot Circus shopping centre on 1 June. Both of these events will coincide with ICC World Cup games; Bangladesh v New Zealand (5 May) at The Oval, and Afghanistan v Australia (1 June) at Bristol County Cricket Ground, respectively. Other events could be organised during the World Cup.

Analysis

Cricket teams and individual players have previously abandoned foreign tours because of security fears; however, most of these have been in Asia and, apart from Indian boycott threats during the height of bilateral tension with Pakistan, no team is expected to cancel their participation, at this time, on this occasion. 

Venue, hotel and coach travel will be priorities for the ICC, taking into account that the Sri Lanka team bus was attacked by gunmen in Lahore during their tour of Pakistan in 2009, and previous bombings near cricket team hotels in Colombo (1987) and Karachi (2002). 

The current international terrorism threat level for the UK is SEVERE, which means an attack is highly likely, while the current threat level for Northern Ireland-related terrorism in Britain is MODERATE, meaning an attack is possible, but not likely. However, there has been no intelligence provided in the public domain to indicate that there is a specific or imminent threat to the ICC World Cup.

Prior to the World Cup, in 2017, England and Wales hosted the ICC Champions Trophy, second in importance only to the Cricket World Cup, and the Women’s Cricket World Cup without incident. These took place during a substantial period of insecurity, involving the Manchester Arena bombing and the Westminster, Finsbury Park and London Bridge attacks. The experience and successfulness of these tournaments will serve as a blueprint for the upcoming World Cup; however, the threat to public safety can only be mitigated and will not completely prevent any possible security incident from transpiring. 

Moreover, host stadiums on match days will be attractive targets for opportunist criminals; in addition, major transport hubs will also see an influx of travellers during the tournament and petty crime could increase at such locations as well. Criminals will often work as part of an organised gang to maximise their efforts. 

Additionally, the non-associated protest actions that are expected in London and Bristol during the hosting of the World Cup are likely to create additional disruptions and further overcrowd public transportation services. It is important to note that the US Embassy is situated approximately 1km in distance from The Oval cricket ground in south London.

Implications

In order to best mitigate any threat towards participants and spectators, the ICC and individual venues have produced the following list of prohibited and restricted items:

  • No items which could be used as a weapon including, but not limited to, firearms, knives, flammable items.
  • No pyrotechnic devices including fireworks, explosives, smoke bombs, flares, laser pointers or similar items.
  • Large flags (and those with sticks that protrude more than a hand’s breadth below the flag).
  • Alcohol, glass or cans
  • No professional cameras and video cameras or any photographic equipment, including tripods, used for commercial purpose.
  • No noise producing devices, including air horns, portable speakers, PA systems, megaphones or similar items used for amplification or broadcast.
  • No animals except for service animals.
  • No promotional, commercial, political, religious or items deemed offensive of whatever nature, including but not limited to clothing, banners, placards, leaflet, signs or other materials used for ambush marketing or other similar unauthorised promotional purposes.
  • Any other items listed as prohibited items on the applicable venue regulations.
  • Items likely to obscure view or impact spectator experience such as large (golf) umbrellas or oversized hats.
  • Small amounts of food and non-alcoholic drinks for personal consumption can be brought into the venue if in clear, unopened packets, containers or plastic bottles. Empty water bottles are also permitted.

Enforcement including checks upon entry by police and stewards are to be expected and will likely create queues outside the stadia and related fan zones, with spectators and staff encouraged to only bring essential items with them. The increased numbers of visitors to host locations will limit accommodation and private transportation availability. In addition, public transport in these areas will be in high demand and could result in overcrowding. There may also be additional identification checks by police at key locations. Note, games will begin at either 10:30 or 13:30 BST. 

The threat of petty crime and distraction scams will require travellers in host city locations on match days to be conspicuous and aware of their surroundings at all times, as well as requiring personnel to consider what items they travel with, protecting high value items i.e. laptops. 

Personnel travelling to either London or Bristol for games coinciding with non-associated protest actions will be required to take additional care and time for journeys. All venues are providing travel information/directions, which can be found here - https://www.cricketworldcup.com/venues 

Closely monitor for the scheduling of any additional actions during the World Cup. 

There are no known visa exemptions for international travel to the UK during the hosting of the World Cup.