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ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals have received federal certification giving the organization legal protections in the event of a terrorist attack at Busch Stadium.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill on Tuesday announced that the U.S. Department of Homeland Security certified the Cardinals under the Support Anti-Terrorism by Fostering Effective Technologies Act, known as the Safety Act. A DHS spokesman said the certification was approved Dec. 11.

The act encourages sports teams, entertainment venues and other organizations to develop anti-terrorism technologies and practices. In return, it places limits on lawsuits that could be filed if a terrorist attack occurs.

The Cardinals applied for certification in July. McCaskill in October urged approval of the request in a letter to acting Homeland Security director Elaine Duke. The letter was sent days after the attack on a country music concert in Las Vegas spurred new concerns about safety at entertainment and sports venues.

"Terror attacks are increasingly occurring around the world on soft targets like stadiums and concert venues, and the Cards are confronting that threat head-on," McCaskill, the top-ranking Democrat on the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, said in a statement Tuesday.

Cardinals spokesman Ron Watermon said the Cardinals "remain committed to continuous safety upgrades, which include ongoing investments in people, technologies, and process improvements."

Cardinals security director Phil Melcher said in an October interview that upgrades include background checks on all employees and vendors and the installation of barricades to prevent vehicles from ramming the stadium. He said the Safety Act application also requires tracking of metrics to prove the measures work.

The Cardinals are typically among the highest-drawing teams in Major League Baseball, with attendance topping 3 million every season since 2004.

In 2012, Yankee Stadium became the first sports venue to be certified through the Safety Act. Several other sports franchises have followed.

Wednesday morning, the Cardinals released the following statement regarding the Safety Act Designation:We can confirm that we have received SAFETY Act Designation from the Department of Homeland Security for Busch Stadium. While we are proud to have received this Designation, we remain committed to continuous safety upgrades, which include ongoing investments in people, technologies, and process improvements. Fan safety is our number one operational priority at the St. Louis Cardinals.

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