Interesting news from the Euroleague department regarding security at the Final Four:
In coordination with Berlin legal authorities, Euroleague Basketball is advising all fans who will attend the 2009 Final Four that [...] both keys and monetary coins will not be permitted inside O2 World, the event venue. Ticket-holders are encouraged not to carry coins or keys to Final Four games. All keys will be subject to deposit before entering O2 World and may be picked up within a limited time after the games. [...] Any coins relinquished by fans to security personnel will be donated to 46664. Anyone who has bought Final Four tickets online will have been informed of the no-coin security policy, as have the participating clubs before distributing tickets to their fans. Inside O2 World, any purchases will be sold or packaged in €5 increments to avoid the necessity of making change in coins. In addition to the prohibitions on coins and keys, food and drink, bottles and cans, drugs, weapons, cigarette lighters, umbrellas, flammable materials and explosives, animals, loudspeakers, bullhorns, laser pointers and flag poles will be prohibited from entering the arena. Any flags and banners measuring larger than 1 x 2 meters will not be allowed inside O2 World. Banners, symbols, emblems or texts that incite violence will not be permitted. All fans are advised to arrive two hours before any games in order to allow enough time for security clearance and location of their seats.
At first you might think – well – are you serious? The cheapest item – beer, coke, even water will be at least five euros?!? Yes, that’s right. On the other hand, we have to respect the Euroleague for this. Just imagine what really could happen to the league if something bad happened?
On the other hand, we are used to soccer fans. This is like a totally different “breed” of fans – where 60,000 people are in an arena – with coins and HUGE banners and certainly keys. If the Euroleague must take these actions to ensure safety at the games, I’m really excited to see what goes on Friday and Sunday…