Terror threat could force Euro 2016 to move matches and play them in empty stadiums, tournament director warns
Matches at this summer’s European Football Championships in France could be played in front of empty stadiums or switched to different venues at short notice if there is a threat of terrorism during the competition, tournament director Martin Kallen has claimed.
UEFA are currently in the process of drawing up anti-terror contingency plans for the month-long event, due to take place from June 10 until July 10.
The move is in response to last year’s terrorist attacks in Paris, where a friendly match between France and Germany at the Stade de France on November 13, due to host the Euro 2016 final, was targeted.
Suicide bombers detonated devices outside of the stadium after they were denied entry by security personnel at the venue, killing four people and injuring several more.
As a result of the incident, the German team spent the night in the dressing room at the Stade de France.
A total of 130 people lost their lives in the series of coordinated attacks on the French capital and another 370 were injured.
The following week, a friendly between Germany and The Netherlands was cancelled after police received word of a “concrete security threat” just before kick-off at the Hannover Stadium.
It had been claimed that Euro 2016 organisers may have decided to cancel the tournament in the wake of the attacks.
These claims were dismissed by Euro 2016 President Jacques Lambert, who insisted the finals should take place as planned .
He had warned that “to ask questions about the cancellation of Euro 2016 is to play into the hands of the terrorists”.
A State of Emergency, initiated in November, remains in place in France, however.
Today marks 100 days until the competition gets underway with the opening match due to be between the hosts and Romania at the Stade de France.
“If there is a security issue, we would need to play the match without fans,” Kallen said.
“It’s possible that matches would be postponed or played later.
“But today there are no signs of any extreme threats or alarming issues.”
A total of 51 matches in 10 stadiums are scheduled to be held during 32 days of competition.
- By Liam Morgan
- Republished with permission insidethegames.biz