Organisers vow Euro 2016 will go ahead despite Paris attacks

Talk of cancelling Euro 2016 would be “playing into the hands of terrorists”, according to the head of the tournament’s organising committee.
Organisers vow Euro 2016 will go ahead despite Paris attacks

Jacques Lambert promised France would take the “necessary decisions” to ensure next summer’s event took place in safety in the wake of Friday’s attacks in Paris in which 132 people were killed and hundreds injured.

The incidents – following on from the killing of 12 people by gunmen in January – has raised concerns about the country’s hosting of next year’s European Championships, but backing down now is not an option for the hosts.

“To ask questions about the cancellation of Euro 2016 is to play into the hands of the terrorists,” Lambert told French broadcaster RTL.

“The risk level was up a notch in January, and it just got up a notch. We will take the necessary decisions for Euro 2016 to take place in the best safety conditions.

“I will not reveal what we are going to do because that would alert our opponents.

“The security in stadiums works well, the risk is more out in the streets, in spontaneous gatherings.”

French Football Federation (FFF) president Noel Le Graet echoed those sentiments, insisting safety must be a priority. “We will do whatever it takes to ensure security despite all the risks that entails,” he said.

All 23 members of the France squad – including Lassana Diarra and Antoine Griezmann – were today due to fly to England for tomorrow’s friendly at Wembley.

Diarra’s cousin Asta Diakite was one of the victims, while Griezmann’s sister managed to escape the mass killing at the Bataclan theatre.

France coach Didier Deschamps gave players the chance to withdraw, but none did after the FFF declined the FA’s offer to cancel the match.

The Wembley Arch will be lit up in the red, white and blue colours of the French flag to show solidarity with the visiting nation.

Screens will show the French motto ’Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite’ outside the ground and before kick-off the words of La Marseillaise – the French national anthem – will be shown to help any England fans who want to join in.

The FA has urged fans to get to Wembley early as there will be increased security checks in light of the attacks.

More than 14,000 have signed an online petition asking FA chairman Greg Dyke to give proceeds from the game to the French Red Cross and French charity Medecins Sans Frontieres to help support victims of the attacks.

The German Football Federation (DFB) confirmed Tuesday’s friendly fixture Holland will proceed as scheduled. Germany were forced to sleep at the Stade de France after Friday’s 2-0 friendly defeat by France, but in a show of support insist the horrific incidents will not affect their plans. “The message is clear – we will not be intimidated by terror,” said DFB vice-president Dr Reinhard Rauball.

Meanwhile Harry Kane insists there is no need to panic about England’s Euro 2016 chances despite their 2-0 defeat to reigning European champions Spain on Friday.

After winning all 10 of their qualifiers, England were given a reality check by holders Spain in Alicante last Friday with goals from Mario Gaspar and Santi Cazorla.

Kane does not think the result reflects badly on England, however. “People need to stay patient,” the Tottenham striker said.

“We’re not going to win every game. We know what we want to do and what we want to achieve. We’ve got to keep doing things right, don’t panic and go from there.”

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