Football: Hollande - Euro 2016 an antidote to Paris, Brussels attacks

29th March 2016, Comments 0 comments

French President Francois Hollande said on Tuesday all the security necessary would be mobilised for Euro 2016, a competition which he insisted would be "a form of answer to the hate, horror" of the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks.

"Security will be at a maximum, it's a duty for the government regarding all those who have chosen to come to France in June and we will never compromise on the rules," said Hollande during a visit to INSEP, France's centre for sporting excellence, ahead of the tournament which runs for a month starting on June 10.

Later on Tuesday evening Hollande was due to watch France's international friendly at the Stade de France national stadium on the outskirts of Paris.

It's the football first match to be held at the stadium since the November terror attacks, in which three suicide bombers detonated explosive vests near the ground, killing themselves as well as one civilian.

Other co-ordinated attacks in the centre of Paris around the Bataclan concert hall resulted in a total of 130 people being killed.

Hollande was also at the Stade de France that day as the Euro 2016 hosts played world champions Germany.

"There was never a question of postponing or cancelling (Euro 2016)," he continued, adding that the event would be an antidote to "the hatred, the division, the fear and the horror".

"In 73 days the competition will begin, we're going to welcome seven million people: 2.5 million will attend the 51 matches at the ten venues and 5 million will experience the Euro in another way, essentially in host towns," he said.

"We must ensure that all these animations, all these activities, all these games can be assured with a very high level of vigilance."

Hollande added that "sport was often a way of responding to terrorism", referring to how the French national anthem, the Marseillaise, was sung at Wembley Stadium when the France team played days after the Paris attacks last November.

And he added: "Even today the Portugal-Belgium match organised in Leiria instead of Brussels is like a response, a form of solidarity" after last week's Brussels attacks which killed 35 and injured 340.

© 2016 AFP

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