France Likely to Keep Euro 2016 Despite Terrorist Threat

Published: 15th November 2015 08:31 AM  |   Last Updated: 15th November 2015 08:31 AM   |  A+A-

What is the status of England's friendly with France?

As of last night, the game on Tuesday was still on, with both the Football Association and French Football Federation (FFF) announcing that it would go ahead following reports that it had been cancelled. France were scheduled to train yesterday behind closed doors at their Clairefontaine base after scrapping an open training session and press conference. The game could still be called off if there are significant objections from playing staff or coaches. England were last forced to cancel a home match four years ago when their friendly against Holland was scrapped following the London riots. The Paris attacks on Friday prompted the Wembley arch being lit up in the colours of the French flag in a gesture of solidarity with the next hosts of the European Championship finals.

Will France still host Euro 2016?

The deadliest attack on French soil since the Second World War will inevitably compound concerns there had already been about the world's second biggest football tournament being staged there next summer. The Charlie Hebdo massacre in January and the near-disaster in August, when a gun attack on a train to Paris was narrowly foiled, had demonstrated that France was becoming arguably the No?1 target for terrorists in the western world. Noel Le Graet, the FFF president, told L'Equipe: "For the Euro, there was already a big worry. Today, it's obviously even stronger." But there are no recent examples of atrocities at major global sporting events, possibly because security around them is so tight, meaning it is highly unlikely that Euro 2016 will be reallocated.

What events have been cancelled since the attack?

All sporting events and competitions in Paris and the surrounding region (Ile de France) were called off following the tragedy. The entire Ligue 1 programme was postponed, as was every European Rugby Cup and Challenge Cup match scheduled to take place in France. That included the game today between Toulon and Bath, and the fixtures yesterday between Racing 92 and Glasgow Warriors, and Oyonnax and Ulster Rugby. Athletics, volleyball, handball, taekwondo, horse racing and figure skating meetings were also cancelled. The friendly on Tuesday between Germany, who were France's opponents when the Stade de France was attacked on Friday, and Holland is in doubt after the Germans spent Friday night at the stadium. A decision will be made today, with Reinhard Rauball, the German Football Association president, saying: "We will now sleep over it and then see how we will approach things for Tuesday or not." Sweden's Euro 2016 play-off with Denmark will go ahead amid tightened security.

What is the impact on sport in Britain?

There were immediate discussions between Saracens, Toulouse and European Professional Club Rugby about the Champions Cup game at Allianz Park yesterday but it was decided to go ahead with the fixture. Otherwise, it was a case of British sport paying its respects, with the Football League announcing that a minute's silence would be observed before all of its games in League One and League Two. The Football Association of Wales and the Welsh Government released a joint statement after calling off a reception to mark the team's qualification for Euro 2016. At all Uefa-organised matches in the coming days a minute's silence will be observed and black armbands worn. The Government has not raised the terror threat to Britain since the attacks, which remains at "severe", meaning security around events in the UK is likely to remain unchanged.

What is the long-term effect on French sport?

The scene of a France football match being targeted by terrorists is a huge wake-up call for both the French government and sports governing bodies. There could well be a review of security arrangements around regular sporting events there, particularly those within Paris. That could include at future France fixtures in both football and rugby. The country is also scheduled to stage rugby's Champions Cup and Challenge Cup finals in Lyon at the end of the season and the Stade de France's annual Diamond League meeting will take place in August.

Further ahead is the first Ryder Cup to be staged on French soil, which is being held just outside Paris in 2018. The city is also bidding for the 2024 Olympic Games, with a vote to decide the hosts taking place in just under two years. Paris had arguably been the favourite before Friday and the event is so far in the future that the attacks could further galvanise support behind it rather than damage its hopes. There was never any suggestion of Britain losing the 2012 Games after the London bombings took place less than 24 hours after it won them back in 2005.

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