Welcome to the new Independent website. We hope you enjoy it and we value your feedback. Please contact us here.

Football: Fences down for World Cup

France, in line with the wishes of the game's world governing body, Fifa, will have no perimeter fencing at most of the stadiums hosting the 1998 World Cup finals.

"We're heading for eight out of 10 stadiums which will not have fencing, maybe nine out of 10," Michel Platini, joint head of the World Cup organising committee, said yesterday.

The French sports minister, Marie-George Buffet, had announced that the government was looking for solutions "to avoid disturbing the view of the spectators". She did not give a date for the lifting of the fencing at the venues, which include Marseilles, Toulouse, Bordeaux and the new Stade de France and Parc des Princes in Paris.

Nantes, however, are against removing fencing at their La Beaujoire stadium, while St Etienne have financial problems. Lyon, Montpellier and Lens want to use longer, horizontal barriers to stop pitch invasions.

France have used England's staging of the 1996 European Championships as a model for their security plans. Stewards will use video surveillance on the crowds in the grounds, while police will be in charge outside.