Sports / Soccer

UEFA confirms Euro 2016 to go ahead in France despite Paris attacks

(Agencies) Updated: 2015-11-17 09:57

PARIS -- Europe's soccer governing body UEFA has confirmed Monday that the 2016 European Championship will go ahead in France as planned despite the deadly attacks in Paris last Friday.

UEFA confirms Euro 2016 to go ahead in France despite Paris attacks

The official Mascot, Super Victor, for the upcoming Euro 2016 soccer championship, poses in front of the UEFA Euro 2016 logo at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France, October 8, 2015. France will host the 2016 European Championship and the Nice stadium will be one of the 10 venues. [Photo/Agencies]

"The EURO final draw will go ahead as scheduled on 12 December at the Palais des Congres in Paris and the final tournament will be played in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016," read a statement by UEFA.

At least 129 people were killed and 352 injured in the attacks on Friday night in Paris, for which the extremist group Islamic State has claimed responsibility, with suicide bombing and gun-shooting taking place in various locations, including the Stade de France.

"Following the dramatic events that occurred last Friday in Paris, UEFA and EURO 2016 SAS wish to reaffirm their commitment in placing safety and security at the centre of their organisational plans," said UEFA in the statement.

"While there is no reason to believe that the EURO might become the target of any attack, the potential terrorist threat has always been taken into account, since the beginning of the project."

On Saturday, Euro 2016 chief Jacques Lambert said the Euro 2016 finals in France should not be cancelled even though the risk levels have gone up after the deadly attacks in Paris.

"The risk had gone one level up in January. It has just gone higher," the head of organizing committee told French radio RTL. "We will make the decisions we need to make so that the Euro finals can be held in the best security conditions."

"Wondering whether Euro 2016 must be cancelled is playing the game of the terrorists," said Lambert.

Responding to that, UEFA said: "EURO 2016 SAS and all stakeholders involved in the organisation of the tournament will continue their joint work and will regularly monitor the level of risk for the tournament and their respective organisational plans."

France coach Didier Deschamps supported the decision, telling a news conference ahead of Tuesday's friendly against England at Wembley: "Euro 2016 will take place in France. Measures will be taken for it to go ahead in the best conditions."

Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque also said at a news conference previewing another international friendly against Belgium in Brussels: "I think changing the venue (for the Euros) would be giving the terrorists what they want."

The Stade de France, where to held the Euro 2016 final, was targeted by suicide bombers as France hosted World Cup champions Germany and eventually won 2-0 on Friday, while France midfielder Lassana Diarra lost a female cousin in the attacks and forward Antoine Griezmann's sister escaped unhurt from the assault on the Bataclan theater.

Euro 2016 will be held from June 10-July 10.


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