Security at Euro 2016 is of the utmost importance to France and the tournament’s organizers, but the reality of today’s age means that the risk of a terrorist threat at the competition remains very real. Portugal, because of the global stature of Cristiano Ronaldo, have been identified as one of the more high-risk teams, and their coach Fernando Santos acknowledged the threat after his side’s friendly defeat to England on Thursday.
“As everybody knows, Portugal is considered one of the high-risk teams due to the presence of Cristiano Ronaldo, but we are prepared for this,” said Santos. “In reality, this will be the responsibility of the French security. Our fans will have to understand that at certain moments we won’t be able to release our players as we would like.”
2.5 million tickets have already been sold to the matches, which span 10 different venues in France, while another 6 to 7 million people are expected to visit the 10 fan zones around the country.
Couple the massive influx of people into the country along with the impact this will have at hotels, team camps, public gathering places, airports and train stations, and the enormity of the task facing French officials appears quite daunting.
Speaking with The Guardian, the Inspector General of the National Police, Luc Presson, detailed the years of security planning that have gone into the tournament.
“This event must be as safe as possible without impinging on the festival atmosphere that must prevail at the tournament. After all, it’s a festival,” said Presson. “We have taken a number of measures over the past months and years in collaboration with the organizers to make the stadiums and the fan zones as safe as possible and to ensure that people can enjoy the experience without seeing police everywhere.”
Portugal begin their Euro 2016 campaign against Iceland on June 14 in Saint-Etienne. They also face Austria on June 18 in Paris, and Hungary on June 22 in Lyon.
(H/T: World Soccer)
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