• France's news in English
Euro 2016
100 days to go: France frets over Euro 2016 security
Football fans at the Stade de France. Photo: AFP

100 days to go: France frets over Euro 2016 security

AFP · 2 Mar 2016, 07:39

Published: 02 Mar 2016 07:39 GMT+01:00

Fan zones in the ten host cities are feared to be a special target and millions of dollars are being spent on security precautions for the 24-nation football spectacular which runs from June 10th to July 10th.
Up to 80,000 fans have been predicted for the Prado beach venue in Marseille, 60,000 at the Place des Quinconces in Bordeaux and 10,000 in a park next to Nice's landmark Promenade des Anglais. All could be a target.
France has been on high alert since the November 13th attacks by Islamist militants in Paris which left 130 dead. With seven million people predicted to visit France during Euro 2016, security is a big worry.
"Given the terrorist context, these fan zones are a sensitive topic," Gerard Gavory, the government's security prefect for the Rhone region, told AFP. The Rhone includes Lyon which will host six games including a semi-final.
Matches are also being held in Paris, Bordeaux, Lens, Lille, Marseille, Nice, Saint Etienne and Toulouse.
Key matches, including the opening game and final, will be at the Stade de France in Saint Denis, just outside Paris, which was one of the targets of the murderous November 13 attacks.
Toulouse and Saint Etienne council's had both wanted to cancel the fan zones after the attacks, but have since softened their stance.
Security will be easier to organise in the fan zones, said Fabienne Soulas, the Saint Denis town official in charge of Euro 2016 organisation.
"Otherwise there will be gatherings all over the place, in cafes, and it will not be easy for the police."
In the post-attack organisation, the fan zones will be sealed off with body searches at entrances, video surveillance, no bags and private guards patrolling inside.
Saint Denis had planned to set up a fan zone opposite its 872-year-old basilica where most of France's kings are buried. But Islamic State has forced a brutal rethink.
Fans' feelgood factor 
"As it had to be sealed off, it would have meant blocking off the whole town centre. The police wanted to check the residents of local buildings to make sure there were no suspects," said Soulas.
Toulouse has also had to change its fan zone site away from its central Place du Capitole.
Saint Etienne is still demanding UEFA pay the cost of all the security, But Europe's governing body, the main organisers, is only paying to guard stadiums, team camps and official hotels.
Bordeaux's mayor Alain Juppe has estimated that his city will pay €4million ($4.3 million) for the fan zone and a quarter will go on security.
Toulouse estimates it will pay €500,000 on security and is looking for sponsors to help pay the cost.
A joint UEFA, French government and host cities committee is to agree the share of the cost at a meeting on March 22. Cities are looking to put the pressure on the French state and UEFA.
Story continues below…
Security is not the only reason that the government wants Euro 2016 to be a success -- with the host nation doing as well as possible. President Francois Hollande is trying to buildup some feelgood feeling in the country before next year's presidential election.
France's 1998 World Cup win on home territory did wonders for President Jacques Chirac's public standing.
But the French team is dogged by scandal after star striker Karim Benzema was charged with complicity in a sex-tape blackmail attempt against teammate Mathieu Valbuena.
French federation president Noel Le Graet said Tuesday that Benzema would still not be allowed back into the national team even though his bail conditions have been eased.
While not playing for France, Benzema has scored 23 goals in 24 matches for Real Madrid. The form of Valbuena, who can play for France, has slumped.
By Paul Ricard

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
French towns divided over taking in Calais migrants
Photo: AFP

Towns across France are arguing over whether to take in migrants soon to be evacuated from the Calais "jungle" camp.

Paris region eyes up cable cars to unclog traffic jams
Could something like this be the future of transport in Paris? Photo: AFP

Did you know there are 12 cable car projects around the Paris region? Better than the RER trains surely?

Dos and don'ts to help you cope with writing in French

Writing emails in French is a whole new challenge that requires a whole new set of tips.

French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Photo: Ray Sadler/Flickr

Cher readers... Hope this helps. Cordialement, The Local

Paris banking district stages France's latest mock attack
Photo: AFP

The La Defense business district in Paris was the scene of the latest mock terror attack last night, as French authorities continue to take no chances.

French cows die after eating all winter stock in one night
File photo: AFP

Half a herd of cows ate themselves to death on cereals.

Grape thieves pilfer what's left of Burgundy wine harvests
Photo: AFP

Fed up with seeing thieves pilfer their precious grapes, vineyard owners in the famous region of Burgundy are taking extreme measures for the first time.

France to clamp down on rip-off home repair workers
All photos: AFP

Ever feel you've been ripped off by a plumber, electrician, or locksmith in France?

'Rogues' go on trial for ripping shirts of Air France bosses
Photo: AFP

A court in France will decide whether ripping the shirt off your boss's back is all part and parcel of a French labour dispute.

Hollande dealt major blow as jobless rate shoots up
Photo: AFP

The news could dissuade President François Hollande from even running for re-election.

Sponsored Article
Why Jordan is the ‘Different’ East
The crazy French writing phrases you can't get your head around
Room for improvement: Paris's matchbox apartments
'Stop telling immigrants to be French and help it happen'
Take the test: How far have you assimilated into French culture?
Eleven things you should know before moving to Paris
France's Marion Cotillard rebuffs rumours of fling with Brad Pitt
Eight arrested over links to Nice truck attacker
Why everyone should party in a French chateau at least once
The Frenchman who hated 'Nazi-Zealand' after four-day hitch-hike fail
What's on: Ten exciting events across France in September
The 45-million year old underground shells that flavour Champagne
French job speak: All the terms you need to know
'Resilient' Paris now a more appealing city than New York
France says it's OK to warn drivers about speed cameras
Meet Honorine, 113, the oldest person in France
Grenoble named France's best city to be a student
New Metro map reveals cheapest pints of beer in Paris
Business & Money
How reliant is the French economy on Paris?
Here's why Parisians want to move to Bordeaux
And the 'best place to spend a weekend in Europe' is… Lyon
Analysis & Opinion
'Muslims in France must be considered ordinary citizens'
Armed guards to ride French trains from October
France among Europe's priciest for train travel
jobs available