UEFA have said that they will give very real consideration to playing the entirety of Euro 2016 behind closed doors if the terrorism threat in Europe continues to rise over the course of the next three months.
Giancarlo Abete, vice-president of the UEFA executive committee, told an Italian radio station that should security issues persist, UEFA are willing to take extreme precautions to minimise risk.
Euro 2016 is the kind of event that we can’t delay or postpone.
We can’t exclude the possibility of playing behind closed doors, as we cannot exclude terrorism. If we talked about potentially cancellable games, such as a friendly or a competitive match, they could be moved to another date.
Obviously this would not be the case. But we are talking about games which are staged for June whereas, today, we are going through a very urgent emergency.
Abete’s warnings come in the direct wake of the barbaric bombings across Brussels yesterday, but also with the terror attacks in and around the Stade de France last November still fresh in the mind.
FIFA have also released a statement backing UEFA’s commitment to staging a “safe and secure” tournament in France this summer.
We can’t believe that playing games inside empty stadiums will stop large groups of football fans congregating elsewhere (fan parks, etc) and alas, if the blood-thirsty death fetishists of the world are hell-bent on disrupting the competition then they’ll probably still find a way.
What a terrible thing to have to think.