UEFA Considers Closed-Door Euro-Finals

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar March 24, 2016 23:42

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UEFA Considers Closed-Door Euro-Finals

By Satish Sekar © Satish Sekar (March 23rd 2016)

Knee-jerk

UEFA are considering a drastic response to yesterday’s outrage in Brussels. Three terrorist attacks at Zaventem Airport and Maelbeek Metro Station left 31 dead and 270 wounded. Euro2012 is just over two months away and the organisers have to consider it a target for the terrorists. While both the Paris and Brussels attacks were committed by home-grown ‘jihadis’, the possibility that terrorists will seek to take advantage of the festival of football that France is planning cannot be ignored.

Giancarlo Abete a former head of the Italian Federation and a UEFA Executive Vice-President suggested a draconian solution – one the French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has understandably balked at. Abete has suggested that the tournament could be played behind closed doors.

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“Euro 2016 is the kind of event we can’t delay or postpone,” Abete told Radio 24. “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 that could be moved to another date, obviously this would not be the case”.

It’s not a remotely popular option, but it is one that football reluctantly considers. But while safety of teams and fans must be the priority, such an option would destroy the tournament and hand victory to the thugs.

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Football Responds

Among those unenthusiastic about the prospect, but willing to reluctantly acquiesce if necessary is Welsh manager Chris Coleman. “I hope that’s not the case” Coleman said. “Of course you can understand the concerns on the back of what happened yesterday and I think if we do that we’re giving in to mindless fools, unfortunately. I hope that’s not the case. I hope they go ahead – put the trust in UEFA and the Federation to make sure everything’s okay, so, yeah I hope the tournament goes ahead as planned”.

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Wales have waited almost six decades for this. Their long suffering fans and all the others too deserve the opportunity to enjoy a festival of football. “I think it’s such a huge event, the European Championships. Everybody wants to see it. It’s not just the countries who are involved, and of course, ourselves – it’s our first one, but across the world everybody wants to see it. Football’s the biggest sport in the world – the most huge sport in the world and this is one of the biggest tournaments and everybody wants to see it we’re ready for a lot of people and something like that, I hope that’s not the case. I hope it goes ahead as planned”.

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Meanwhile, French opposition to the suggestion of their Euro finals tournament taking place behind closed doors appears to have swayed UEFA, as it would hand victory to the terrorists – something France is determined not to tolerate as its State of Emergency continues after the Paris attacks of last November.

Satish Sekar
By Satish Sekar March 24, 2016 23:42