PARIS – Prime Minister Manuel Valls said Wednesday that this summer’s Euro 2016 football tournament would go ahead as planned in France despite the deadly terror bombings which rocked Brussels the previous day.
Asked in a call-in programme on Europe 1 radio station whether it was wise to maintain the event, given the level of threat of there being another terrorist attack, Valls said not to do so would be “a victory for terrorists.”
“We need to have sporting events. But on the condition that they can be held under the best of conditions,” he said.
Valls pointed to the staging of the Cop 21 international climate talks in Paris last November just days after the jihadist terror attacks that killed 130 people in Paris.
That showed, he said, that France can successfully host major events “and we are going to continue to do so.” There were further vows that Euro 2016 would go ahead from France’s sports minister Thierry Braillard.
“We have been repeating it for several months now that the terrorist menace has been in the forefront of our planning since the start and to cancel or postpone the European football championships would be just giving in to these cowards,” he told L’Equipe sports daily.
“In terms of security, we cannot do more than we are already doing,” he added.
The Euro 2016 tournament takes place in France from June 10 to July 10 with 24 teams playing 51 matches at 10 venues across the country from Marseille in the south to Lille in the north and also Paris.