The mayor of Manaus is calling on England supporters to behave with the gentility of priests when they visit his Amazonian city for the team’s opening World Cup match as the Brazilian hosts beef up security ahead of the tournament.
Arthur Virgilio Noto – who hit the headlines last year by declaring thatEngland were not welcome in Manaus – told the Guardian he expected 7,000 fans from the UK before the game against Italy on the 14 June.
Despite his earlier comments and the reputation of English hooligans, the mayor said he was now glad to host Roy Hodgson’s team and was not expecting trouble from their supporters.
“I think everything will be OK. It’ll be such a beautiful event – why would anyone want to make a disturbance?” he said between sips of Red Bull at a reception room in the city hall. “When I go to England, I behave like a peaceful priest. I hope everyone who comes to Manaus will also behave like a priest.”
The mayor said his confidence was based on Fifa ticketing arrangements, which would make it difficult for blocks of fans to gather inside the stadium, and on extra policing on the streets outside.
The central government plans to deploy 170,000 police, troops and private guards in the 12 host cities during the World Cup. As at previous tournaments, the organisers will screen fans with x-ray machines and metal detectors on their way into the stadiums.