UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Mark Bodenschatz, associate director of the Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute (PSFEI), has been invited to assist Interpol — the world’s largest police organization — to help secure the 2022 FIFA World Cup. The quadrennial international men’s soccer championship is scheduled to be held Nov. 21 to Dec. 18, 2022, in Qatar and will be the first World Cup hosted in the Middle East.
Representing the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) and PSFEI, Bodenschatz joins subject-matter experts from other key partner organizations, including the Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy, Sports Ground Safety Authority, European Stadium and Safety Management Association, and the Council of Europe. The group will assist with the development of stadium safety and security licensing and certification standards and guidance as part of Project Stadia — a 10-year initiative established by Interpol in 2012 and funded by Qatar to ensure the safety and security of the 2022 World Cup. The legacy of Project Stadia is a knowledge management system that will apply to and support all future major sporting events hosted in any of the 192 Interpol member nations.
For more than a decade, Bodenschatz has worked with NCS4 in a variety of ways to improve safety and security of major sporting events. He has helped develop and deliver training programs, serves frequently as speaker and facilitator, and has served in a variety of leadership roles within the center, including positions with the National Advisory Board, Intercollegiate Advisory Board, Certification Exam Panel, and Design Committee. NCS4 has been tasked by Interpol to develop eight courses. Bodenschatz has helped with one of the two courses currently offered. The courses will be available to any of the Interpol member countries.
“These internationally recognized experts were hand-selected as leaders in their respective fields,” said John Hajduk, director of PSFEI. “Those of us who work with Mark every day at the institute witness and benefit from the immense amount of expertise he possesses. For him to be invited to contribute to a project of this magnitude speaks volumes about the quality of service he has provided to our clients and throughout his career.”
Bodenschatz will use his expertise to evaluate the venues to ensure security measures are built into the facility and vulnerabilities inherent to the venues are identified and mitigated. He also will address operational plans, security plans and protocols, crowd management, staffing and staff training.
“Historically, the World Cup and other soccer sporting events around the world have had issues with hooligans and ultras,” said Bodenschatz. “And, many of these issues revolve around crowd management, which is just one of the areas we will be addressing as we work together on this committee.”
Although it was through his personal endeavors that Bodenschatz was invited to assist Interpol, he is looking forward to the potential partnerships this experience may bring for PSFEI.
“PSFEI has expertise in several areas that apply directly to the security and safety needs of venues hosting major international sporting events,” said Bodenschatz. “ Our team at PSFEI is best-suited to partner with NCS4 to fill voids that currently exist in the areas of architecture and engineering design and facility management and operations. Specific opportunities include developing and delivering training to design professionals regarding integrated security design techniques. Similarly, a course targeting security professionals regarding the design process and development of security programming is needed.”
For more information about Project Stadia, visit https://www.interpol.int/INTERPOL-expertise/Stadia/Project-Stadia.
The Penn State Facilities Engineering Institute provides facilities engineering services, education programs and energy management to Pennsylvania state agencies, the federal government and nonprofit organizations. The organization aims to advance its customers’ facilities engineering objectives through applied research, education and innovation.