U.S. team bus will not bear a flag for security reasons

May 4, 2006

FRANKFURT, Germany -- The official team bus to be used by the United States during the World Cup will not bear a flag for security reasons.

The 32 official buses were presented Thursday in Frankfurt, and the other 31 buses have large national flags of their teams painted on the rear sides.

German and U.S. security officials decided to leave the flag off the U.S. team bus, an official of the German organizing committee said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to discuss the topic.

The bus is predominantly blue in color.

National teams use their buses to go from their hotels to practices, games and airports. They will have police escorts, and the Americans' exhibition game at Dortmund on March 22 was used as a test of security plans.

At the 2002 World Cup, the United States was among the most heavily guarded teams. When the Americans arrived at Incheon International Airport, about 500 police formed a corridor the players walked through as they came out of customs, with SWAT team commandos mixed in.

When the team's charter flight landed at Daegu Airport before a game against South Korea, two tanks were on the runway. Metal detectors were placed at the entrance of the team hotel throughout the players' stay in Seoul.

Officers of the U.S. State Department routinely travel with the U.S. team when it plays outside the United States.


Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press