No additional security for Six Nations clash with Wales

THERE will be no additional security in place for the Six Nations meeting of Wales and Ireland tomorrow, despite the military conflict in Iraq.

Officials at the 72,500-seater Millennium Stadium in Cardiff which hosts tomorrow's game admit that there is no increased security presence planned.

"Naturally, there has been increased awareness since September 11 and we will have a full contingent of security personnel and police in place in and around the stadium. But nothing additional to normal requirements," a spokesman said.

The IRFU will continue to monitor the situation on an hourly basis, according to spokesman John Redmond.

"Normal security measures will apply. However, we are in constant touch with the Garda Siochána and will be directed by them if anything additional is required," Mr Redmond said yesterday.

Meanwhile, the FAI said that, thus far, no extra security arrangements have been put in place for Ireland's trip to Tbilisi next week.

A FAI spokesperson said that they are in close contact with UEFA and are constantly monitoring the situation.

"At the moment, there is no danger that the game will be called off, but with the situation the way it is, we have to keep a close eye on it," the spokesperson said.

Georgia, on the shores of the Black Sea, shares a border with both Turkey and the independence-seeking Russian state of Chechnya and the country has experienced an upsurge in violence from Chechen rebels in the past two years.

Sport in the US has been largely unaffected by the conflict. However, baseball commissioner Bud Selig decided earlier in the week to cancel the season-opening series in Japan between the Seattle Mariners and Oakland Athletics.

The PGA Tour did not cancel the Bay Hill Invitational this week or any of its other tournaments.

"With a lot of things that are going on, I think it's a wonderful distraction for us, and hopefully we can provide the type of entertainment for people who decide to tune in and watch," Tiger Woods said. "This gets their mind freed up from what's been going on."

Ironically the military action may prove to be a blessing in disguise for members of Augusta National, facing protest action over their failure to admit female members.

The chairperson of the National Council of Women's Organisations, Martha Burk thinks war with Iraq would "alter the tone and possibly the size," of her planned protest during the Masters. Ms Burk stressed she still intends to protest on April 12 at Augusta National unless the all-male club allows female members or postpones the tournament.

"If the country is at war it will alter the tone and possibly the size of any action that we bring," said. "I want to stress that whether or not we are there is 100% the club's call."

The Dubai World Cup races, the richest day in thoroughbred racing, will go on as scheduled March 29.

Irish trainer Dermot Weld will have two runners in the Dubai Classic with Media Puzzle and Pugin both heading for honours. There are 13 US-based horses in Dubai, including Harlan's Holiday and Xtra Heat. Harlan's Holiday, trained by Todd Pletcher, is the likely favourite for the $6 million World Cup, the world's richest race, while the 5-year-old mare Xtra Heat will run in the $2m Golden Shaheen.

Les Benton, Dubai World Cup committee chairman, said: "The Dubai World Cup will go ahead."

Formula One president Max Mosley was equally confident and issued a statement to silence rumours that this weekend's Formula One Grand Prix would be cancelled. "Our sport has nothing whatever to do with the conflict in Iraq and the FIA fully supports the local organisers of the Malaysian Grand Prix in running this event in the usual way," he said.

The Washington Marathon, scheduled for Sunday was called off because of security concerns.

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