(WFI) French president Francois Hollande has promised to beef up security for the Euro 2016 championships in the wake of the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks.
Speaking to an audience of sports officials in Paris, Hollande spoke of an increase in the security budget and said 3,000 extra officials from private security firms would be on duty at the June 10 to July 10 tournament.
Security fears for Euro 2016 were raised after last week’s terrorist atrocities in the Belgian capital which killed more than 30 people. They followed the Paris attacks in November which claimed the lives of 130 people.
Hollande admitted Euro 2016 was a target for terrorists but stressed France should “not yield to this pressure and this threat”.
“Euro 2016 should be a pursuit that includes coming together, unity, respect, tolerance and a form of response. A response to hatred. To division. To fear. To horror,” Hollande was quoted as saying by Deutsche Welle.
Euro 2016 is expected to draw 2.5 million fans to the 51 matches in the 10 host stadiums across France. Around five million may visit the fan zones in each host city to watch games on big screens.
UEFA issued a statement on Tuesday about Euro 2016 security. “We are confident that all security measures will be in place for a safe and festive Euro and therefore there are no plans to play matches behind closed doors,” said European football’s governing body.
“However, we are nevertheless working on contingency plans and on multiple scenarios around crisis situations since we take the security of all participants (players, fans, etc) very seriously.”
Amid increased security last night, France returned to play at the Stade de France. The friendly against Russia was their first match at the venue since the stadium was targeted by Islamist militants in November. One of three suicide bombers tried but failed to enter the stadium.
French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that around 1,200 agents from private security companies and 575 police and gendarmerie officers were on duty at the stadium.
By INSIDER editor Mark Bisson
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