Euro organizers increase security budget after Paris attacks
Mar. 02, 2016
PARIS (AP) — Euro 2016 organizers have increased the security budget by 15 percent in the wake of the Paris attacks.
The attacks that left 130 people dead in November have forced organizers to "strengthen" safety measures, with the security budget up to 34 million euros ($36.9 million), organizing president Jacques Lambert said on Wednesday at a news conference marking 100 days to the European Championship.
France remains in a state of emergency which was recently extended to May 26, two weeks before the June 10-July 10 tournament.
About 10,000 people have been privately hired for security, among them 900 agents mobilized for each of the 51 matches. Organizers are in charge of security within stadiums, with French authorities dealing with it outside.
"Security is our essential preoccupation, but I don't lose sleep over it, we are handling it with cold blood," said Lambert, who was in charge of security issues when France hosted the Winter Olympics in 1992.
Security at team hotels will also be heightened, while fans will endure two security checks entering stadiums. A first perimeter will be set up away from the gates where spectators will have their tickets checked and be submitted to body searches. Lambert said fans will be thoroughly checked once at turnstiles.
Lambert added that Euro organizers will take over security issues at the 10 stadiums hosting matches by mid-May.
"From then, an accreditation will be required to enter the venues," he said. "And these accreditations will only be granted after a screening done by public authorities."
UEFA said on Tuesday that Euro games could be moved to different venues in France and rescheduled without fans on another day in response to terror attacks or threats. Lambert, however, said they were not thinking of matches behind closed doors at this stage.
Security will also be increased at fan zones. About seven million supporters visited the fan zones in the host cities during Euro 2012 in Ukraine and Poland, and there are concerns the designated Euro 2016 areas for the public could be targets for attackers.
While there has been a significant drop in tourism since the attacks, Lambert said ticket sales for the Euro were not affected, with about 1.5 million fans from abroad expected in France during the tournament.
"There has not been any panic," Lambert said. "We did not receive any request for ticket refund."
A total of about 2.5 million tickets will be sold, with organizers expecting to make about 250 million euros ($280 million) through ticket sales.
Lambert and French federation president Noel Le Graet used the news conference to express their support for suspended UEFA President Michel Platini, who is trying to overturn a six-year ban from soccer that is preventing him from attending Euro matches.
"His place is here, among us," said Lambert, a close friend of Platini. "Not on this endless vale of tears that FIFA internal instances are imposing on him. Michel, we are waiting for you, there is a warm spot for you here."