Football: Sydney siege spurs Asian Cup security concern

New South Wales police officers wear protective masks as they place marker cones over potential evidence in their investigation into the Sydney cafe siege, on Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014. The Asian Football Confederation said on Tuesday that it had as
New South Wales police officers wear protective masks as they place marker cones over potential evidence in their investigation into the Sydney cafe siege, on Tuesday, Dec 16, 2014. The Asian Football Confederation said on Tuesday that it had asked the Australian organisers of next month's Asian Cup to adopt enhanced security for the event in the wake of Sydney's deadly hostage drama. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

KUALA LUMPUR (AFP) - The Asian Football Confederation said on Tuesday that it had asked the Australian organisers of next month's Asian Cup to adopt enhanced security for the event in the wake of Sydney's deadly hostage drama.

"We have asked (organisers) to provide extra security in team and AFC hotels as well as police escorts for all official activities including training and matches in addition to (an) increase in security across all venues," AFC general secretary Alex Soosay said in a statement.

"Australia has successfully hosted many prestigious events in the past but the recent developments cannot be taken lightly."

The statement followed the early Tuesday storming by police commandos of a popular Sydney cafe where an Iranian-born Islamist had seized a number of hostages and held them in a 16-hour stand-off.

The gunman and two hostages were killed, while six others were wounded.

The Asian Cup - the region's international-side championship - will be staged in Sydney, Newcastle, Brisbane, Canberra and Melbourne from Jan 9 to 31.

"Thousands of media and fans will be travelling to Australia for the competition, apart from 16 teams, and their security is our utmost priority," Soosay said.

Seven games, including the final, will be held at Sydney's Stadium Australia.