Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : June 20th 2013 Contents A60
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Thursday, June 20, 2013
ISTANBUL---The Under-20 World
Cup kicks off tomorrow in Turkey
with Fifa promising the tournament
will go off without a hitch despite
sometimes violent, anti-government
protests that have gripped Istanbul
and other Turkish cities in recent
Jim Boyce, chairman of the tourna-
ment organising committee, acknowl-
edged that security has been beefed
up for the June 21-July 13 tournament.
The Northern Irishman said Fifa secu-
rity experts were comfortable with
arrangements for the 24 teams and
spectators in the seven host cities and
he predicted there would not be any
problems with security.
"The Fifa security people are very
happy with the security situation that
exists at present in Turkey," Boyce said.
"Fifa is determined that this tourna-
ment will go ahead and certainly I sin-
cerely hope the security situation will
not be a problem and I can honestly
say I don t think it will be."
erupted across Turkey after riot police
brutally cracked down on environmen-
tal activists who opposed plans to
remove trees and develop Gezi Park,
which lies next to Istanbul s famed
Taksim Square, on May 31.
The protesters have expressed dis-
content with what they say is the grad-
ual erosion of freedoms and secular
values during Prime Minister Recep
Tayyip Erdogan s ten years in office.
In the past few days, the protests
have given way to peaceful resistance
although police dispersed pockets of
protesters in Ankara and Istanbul on
Tuesday night and early yesterday.
Hundreds of protesters stood still
for hours on squares on main streets
in several cities, mimicking a lone pro-
tester who started the trend on Istan-
bul s Taksim Square on Monday and
has been dubbed the "Standing Man."
A government official, speaking on
condition of anonymity in line with
government rules that bar civil servants
from speaking to journalists without
prior authorisation, said security for
the U-20 World Cup as well as the
Mediterranean Games, which open in
Mersin yesterday, had been stepped up
well before the nationwide anti-gov-
ernment protests erupted.
Last month, twin car bomb explo-
sions at the town of Reyhanli near the
border with Syria killed 53 people and
authorities were concerned that the
games in Mersin, some 300 kilometres
west of Reyhanli, may also be targeted,
the official said.
The number of police deployed in
Mersin and cities hosting the under-
20 matches have been increased, as
have the number of security cameras,
the official said. He added that none
of the under-20 venues were believed
to be at risk of being targeted by anti-
The US team, which arrived Sunday
and is based in Istanbul, said they had
Fifa: Under-20 WCup upbeat
seen no sign of trouble.
Organisers have also turned their
attention to ensuring the stadiums
are filled once the tournament
starts tomorrow, with the US tak-
ing on Spain and France facing
Ghana in Group A. Cuba plays
South Korea and Nigeria takes on
Portugal in Group B.
Predicting a winner is particu-
larly difficult at this edition of the
tournament in large part because
Brazil and Argentina, which have
won eight of the past ten com-
petitions, failed to qualify.
The emerging favourite appears
to be Spain, which is looking to
add a second under-20 World Cup
to its increasingly crowded trophy
cabinet. Having won the under-
19 European championship, it
boasts a side that plays the quick-
touch "tiki taka" style known for
its quick passing and possession.
Midfielder Oliver commands
the attack, while wide men Gerard
Deulofeu and Jese---who finished
the European Championship as
top scorer---are the main scoring
The Americans come into their
opening match against Spain as
underdogs but insist they are rel-
ishing the opportunity to face one
of the tournament s best teams.
"Spain is probably the favourite
to win the whole thing and the
fact we can start with Spain is a
great opportunity for us and for
our players to perform and see
where we stand," Ramos said.
The competition is organised
into six groups of four teams each,
with the top two advancing along
with the four best third-place
teams. The knockout stage of the
competition begins July 2.
Group A is seen as the toughest
since it features Spain, the US,
France and Ghana, all of which
are considered capable of advanc-
ing deep into the tournament.
Nigeria and Asian champions
South Korea are favoured to move
out of Group B, which also
includes Cuba and Portugal.
South American champion
Colombia is the closest thing to
a sure bet in Group C, though
home favourite Turkey is also a
potential threat in a group also
featuring El Salvador and Aus-
Group D is also tight with Con-
cacaf champion Mexico, which
beat the United States in qualify-
ing, appearing the class of a group
that also includes Paraguay, Mali
Group E is a toss-up with four
seemingly evenly matched teams---
England, Iraq, Chile and African
champion Egypt---all with a strong
case to advance.
Finally, Uruguay and Croatia are
tipped to advance out of Group F,
ahead of New Zealand and Uzbek-
RIO DE JANEIRO---Fifa president
Sepp Blatter has urged protesters
flooding the streets of Brazil to stop
exploiting football to express their
anger against the government, main-
taining that the country is benefiting
from investment ahead of the 2014
Hundreds of thousands of people
have taken to the streets of several cities
in the last week just as the world is
focused on Brazil for the Confederations
Cup, which serves as a test event for
the World Cup.
The mass demonstrations, with
pockets of violence, are swelling in a
collective expression of frustration at
government corruption, and the lack
of investment in woeful basic public
services amid high taxes and heavy
spending on staging Fifa s showpiece
"They are linking them (the protests)
to the Confederations Cup," Blatter said
in an interview with Brazil s Globo TV
network. "I can understand that people
are not happy, but they should not use
football to make their demands heard."
In the northern city of Fortaleza yes-
terday, protesters blocked the main
access road to the stadium hosting
Brazil s game against Mexico in the
Confederations Cup group stage, forcing
official Fifa vehicles to be diverted away
from the Arena Castelao.
"To lose control is something that
is impossible," Cezar Alvarez, Brazil s
deputy Communications Minister, said
through a translator at a briefing. "I
would not say we have lost control."
Banners at the demonstrations in
Sao Paolo and Rio de Janeiro have high-
lighted lavish spending on the World
Cup compared with an apparent lack
of improvement to Brazil s notoriously
The government is projecting that
$13.3 billion will be spent on stadiums,
airport renovations and other projects
for the World Cup, with an estimated
$3.5 billion on venues.
"Brazil asked to host the World Cup,"
Blatter said. "We did not impose the
World Cup on Brazil. They knew that
to host a good World Cup they would
naturally have to build stadiums. (AP)
Blatter says protesters
shouldn't 'use football'
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