France to keep fan zones during Euro 2016 despite Paris attacks

Paris, Nov 25 (IANS) France has no plan to give up fan zones at next year’s European football championship though concerns rise over security following the latest Paris terror attacks.

Interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on Tuesday that security would be reinforced but “the popular dimension of this competition should not be penalised by the current context”, reports Xinhua.

Fan zones, public areas for thousands of soccer fans to get together celebrating the grand continental event and to watch games on big screens, are usually set in down towns of the hosting cities with massive capacity.

The extra cost of additional security measures will be shared between the state, the host cities and Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) via the SAS Euro 2016, according to local television BFMTV’s report.

France has been in a state of emergency since coordinated attacks on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the Stade de France, where an international friendly between France and Germany was being played, killed 129 and left over 350 injured.

Sports Minister Patrick Kanner, Secretary of State for Sports Thierry Braillard, club president of host cities Alain Juppe and the president of SAS Euro 2016 Jacques Lambert attended Tuesday’s meeting called up by Cazeneuve.

“The tragedy on November 13 forces us to take the necessary provisions allowing Euro 2016 to take place in the best conditions,” said the interior minister.

“We will do everything to ensure that the tournament will be carried out in security and safety and the fan zones can be arranged,” added Cazeneuve.

Kanner added that with retention of the so-called fan zones “we want to tell the French people and…foreigners that everything is under control”.

The Euro 2016 will be played from June 10 to July 10 in 10 venues of nine French cities, namely Paris, Lens, Lille, Bordeaux, Marseille, Lyon, Saint-Etienne, Toulouse and Nice.

Paris’ fan zone is expected to be situated on the Champs de Mars below the Eiffel Tower and have a capacity of 120,000.

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