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Women’s World Cup: NZ refused request for police escort for Fifa president Gianni Infantino | New Zealand

Fifa requested president Gianni Infantino be given a police motorcade while visiting during the Women’s World Cup – but was turned down by New Zealand police.

A police spokesperson said in a statement on Thursday that “New Zealand police received a request” for a police escort but that it “was declined after assessing it against standard operating procedures”.

New Zealand typically reserves motorcades for heads of state and some foreign dignitaries.

Fifa has been contacted for comment.

Infantino made the trip to New Zealand to visit its host cities for the Fifa Women’s World Cup, touching down shortly before the tournament kicked off. Infantino conducted much of his inter-city travel in New Zealand on a private jet, before making visits to New Caledonia, Tahiti, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Solomon Islands, Fiji, Tonga, Cook Islands, Samoa and American Samoa.

Infantino has faced criticism for his lack of presence in-country and at games, relative to the last men’s World Cup.

The lack of police escorts in New Zealand was also applied to players – and was joked about by New Zealand captain Ali Riley when the team was caught in traffic and arrived just before the kick-off of their first match.

In an interview with The Re-cap Show: World Cup edition, Football Ferns captain Riley said the team were so delayed by traffic that they were left just 13 minutes to warm up. “I don’t know if anyone outside the team knows this, but we were so late to the game,” Riley said

“There was such bad traffic … I guess there were no police escorts,” she said. At one point, the team heard sirens and thought a police escort had arrived – but the patrol car passed on its way to another call.

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2023/aug/17/womens-world-cup-2023-new-zealand-nz-police-fifa-police Women’s World Cup: NZ refused request for police escort for Fifa president Gianni Infantino | New Zealand

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