WorldT20: Strict eye kept over teams, fans

By AFP
Published: September 19, 2012

Sri Lanka, who are solely hosting a tournament for the first time, are keen on avoiding controversy. PHOTO: FILE AFP

COLOMBO: Sri Lanka launched an unprecedented security operation for the World Twenty20 with the players also under intense surveillance over match-fixing fears.

Bodyguards from the Ministerial Security Division (MSD) and commandos of the elite Special Task Force have been deployed to guard players in a drill usually reserved for visiting heads of state, said officials. Camillus Abeygunawardena, the top security officer for the tournament, said it was the biggest operation for a sporting event  emerging from nearly four decades of ethnic bloodshed.

“We had this level of security at last year’s World Cup, but this time we have more teams and the scale of the operation is a lot bigger,” said Abeygunawardena. The authorities have also unveiled an undercover operation to ensure there was no corruption by players themselves after international cricket was rocked by match-fixing revelations last year.

“Local and international detectives have checked into hotels where the players are staying,” said a top security official. “We are keeping a close watch on the players and their visitors.”

Abeygunawardena said tight security would be maintained throughout the tournament and until every player had left safely.

“Matches like the ones between India and Pakistan would attract more crowds and naturally we will have more security for those games.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 19th, 2012.

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