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World Cup officials stress safety in wake of Brazil inferno

Published on Jan 29, 2013 6:00 AM

BRASILIA (AFP) - Senior sports officials insisted Monday that safety would be a priority at Brazil's upcoming football World Cup and Olympics, in the wake of a nightclub fire here that killed 231 people.

"What happened is the most horrible thing that can happen," Jerome Valcke, secretary general of football's governing body Fifa, told reporters in Brazil after Sunday's deadly inferno in the southern town of Santa Maria.

"However, it has nothing to do with the security within the stadiums," he said, ahead of the Fifa Confederations Cup to be held in Brazil June 15 to 30 and the FIFA 2014 World Cup to be staged here next year.

"We have an emergency plan in place to evacuate a full stadium within eight minutes," he added. "There are dedicated people in charge and trained for disaster management as part of the overall security concept," he said, insisting that what happened "cannot be compared to the organisation of the Fifa World Cup security plan."

A policeman checks the Kiss nightclub where a blaze on the eve killed more than 230 people, on Jan 28, 2013, in Santa Maria, southern Brazil. Brazilian police arrested four suspects --two of the Kiss club's owners, along with a pair of musicians who starred in the ill-fated pyrotechnic show, in the wake of the nightclub fire that forced sports officials to defend preparations for the World Cup and Olympics. -- PHOTO : AFP
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