Three of this summer’s World Cup stadiums have “considerable deficiencies” which render them “potential death traps” in the event of a rush of fans during matches. That is the opinion of a report in the German consumer magazine Stiftung Warentest, which highlighted particular problems at the stadiums in Berlin, Gelsenkirchen and Leipzig.
The investigation, which the magazine says followed a consultation process involving Fifa, Germany’s World Cup organising committee and stadium operators, called on organisers to ensure that the remaining 150 days before the tournament’s start on June 9 were used to mitigate the impact of the deficiencies.
The magazine was alarmed at the 3.5 metres distance between the lower-tier viewing area and the pitch-side ground below at Leipzig’s Central Stadium (above) . A recent test of evacuation procedures over a 2.7m-deep moat that surrounds the pitch at Berlin’s Olympic Stadium took 20 minutes.
The committee president Franz Beckenbauer insisted the grounds were in good condition to host the tournament. “I’m sick of all this ‘we know best’,” he said. “Stiftung Warentest may know a lot about facial cream, olive oil and vacuum cleaners – and that is what they should stick to.”