Brazil take on Argentina in Melbourne in the 108th meeting between the sides: Here’s the story of a rivalry that’s spanned 113 years and has been spread across 19 countries and five continents.
SPECIALIST police crews will join private security teams to protect a sellout crowd and some of the world’s biggest soccer stars in the blockbuster Brazil-Argentina clash at the MCG.
A crowd of more than 95,000 is set to push Melbourne’s record soccer attendance to the limit in an international friendly headlined by Argentinian superstar Lionel Messi.
But after recent terror attacks in Melbourne, London and Manchester, security has been stepped up and spectators urged to arrive early to avoid being stuck in queues.
Brazil and Argentina have hired their own security squads to work with police and stadium surveillance experts.
And extra cops have been rostered on for a bonanza of major events in Melbourne including Monday’s Melbourne-Collingwood Big Freeze AFL match and Tuesday’s Socceroos-Brazil clash.
Fans at the Brazil-Argentina game will face the most stringent security of any Australian stadium with every spectator undergoing metal detector and bag checks and all cars entering the ground searched.
With officers out in force at the ground, transport hubs and the CBD, Victoria Police has also spoken to stadium operators about potential changes to the way fans enter and leave venues.
More: Messi trains in Melbourne with Argentina squad
But, despite several requests for information, Victoria Police refused to say if fans could soon face staggered entry and exits or if different supporter groups would have to vacate venues separately.
“The safe entry and exit of patrons from major events is a key planning consideration and police are continually reviewing security arrangements with event and venue management to ensure best practice,’’ it said in a statement.
“Police will continue to provide advice to event and venue stakeholders where needed and will support plans to ensure they are as effective as possible.’’
It comes after Counter Terrorism Command Assistant Commissioner Ross Guenther said changes must be considered.
“Yes, inevitably, there will be change in the way we manage entry and exit from large arenas,’’ he said.
He told ABC radio crowds had become used to checks and bag searches at gates but more might be necessary to keep people safe.
“So whether you come out as one large cohort of people or whether you guide through entry and exit points as you would when you enter the venue,’’ he said.
MCC spokesman Shane Brown said “staggered departure of patrons’’ would not be implemented at the MCG “at this time’’.
“However, we are always reviewing our procedures and such ideas may be discussed in future,’’ he said.
The Herald Sun recently revealed the MCC was considering installation of permanent anti-car bollards and only allowing clear plastic bags or small clutch handbags into the stadium.
Operators of Rod Laver Arena, AAMI Park, Simonds Stadium Brazil vs Argentina Live and Hisense Arena are also considering the clear bag restriction, already in place at many US stadiums.