The 2016 edition of the European Championship kicks off on Friday when hosts France face Group A opponents Romania at the Stade de France amid an unprecedented security operation as France remains under a state of emergency after last November’s attacks on Paris, when 130 people were killed.
According to BBC Sport, more than 90,000 police, soldiers and private guards will be deployed at the tournament, with seven million fans expected to visit the 10 host venues. The US and British governments have both warned fans they could be at risk.
But organizers UEFA and French authorities insist they have done everything possible to keep the 2.5 million spectators expected at the 51 matches safe.
“We lived through some tragic moments,” he said. “So it will remain with us, even if with time we can think about it a little less.
“Today to have zero risk doesn’t exist, sadly, but we have to go forward and these Euros have to be a festival of football and the festival has to be as beautiful as possible.”
Richard Walton, the Metropolitan Police’s former head of counter-terrorism, said the threat to Euro 2016 is “more acute than for any other international sporting event in history”.
With a reported 500,000 British fans among the seven million supporters in France, the British Foreign Office has warned that stadiums, fan zones and transport hubs are possible targets for attack.
Two English football fans were arrested after police used tear gas to disperse a brawl outside a pub in Marseille shortly before midnight on Thursday.
Police said one of the fans was arrested for assaulting a barman and the other for violent disorder, with one England supporter suffering a head injury after being hit across the face with a wooden chair.