Officiousness is the bane of many a sports hack’s life, but surely few of us have encountered anything quite as petty* as the World Cup security guard in Pretoria ahead of the Paraguay-Japan game this week, who banned a cheese roll.
(* unless, of course, you have and would like to share your experience with us).
SJA committee member and all-round good egg Keir Radnedge has been in South Africa for the duration of the tournament, and a bit more besides, and he long ago tired of the poor standards of catering and the high prices (R30, or £2.60, for a cheese roll) charged in the official media centres.
So this week, he decided he’d take his own.
But Keir hadn’t catered for security.
Not only did they not like his cheese roll, but they did not fancy the look of his apple, and his orange had a very dodgy look to it.
Given that this is the same World Cup security organisation that failed to prevent an angry England fan from wandering into the dressing room after their Algeria match (and then tried to pin the blame on a London-based tabloid with unproven allegations) this all takes the biscuit. Or the roll.
Keir writes that security guard Norah Swart “wasn’t smiling or bothered by manners in ordering: ‘You can’t bring that in. It’s not allowed’.
“She could not explain the reason but supervisor Jacobus Swart said they were just ‘obeying orders’.”
Oh dear. Imagine if a jobsworth at Stratford utters those deathly words in 2012?
“Now the funniest part about this is that the general standard of security checks on just about anyone entering the World Cup stadia over the past three weeks has been patchy,” Radnedge writes.
“Incidentally, this was Loftus where many journalists again (as at Ellis Park the previous night) were left no option but to sit on the floor to rest and write. Norah would have been better employed ordering up some extra chairs and tables.
“There is a serious point to the above: all the goodwill earned by the enormous amount of work put in by FIFA and local staff risks getting lost amid an increasing number of such unnecessary incidents.”