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EURO 2016

FOOTBALL

Euro 2016 matches could be held in empty stadiums

Football chiefs are prepared to close stadiums to fans during Euro2016 if there is a security threat.

Euro 2016 matches could be held in empty stadiums
Lyon's new stadium. COuld it host games without a crowd? Photo: AFP

Any heightened security threat during Euro 2016 could mean matches being played behind closed doors or moved to another part of the country at the last minute.

With just three months before the kick off of Euro 2016, European football chiefs from Uefa have been detailing how they plan to act in the event of an imminent terror threat.

France is still under a state of emergency following the November 13th attacks in Paris, one of which took place at the Stade de France during a France-Germany football game, and authorities fear that terrorists could target Euro 2016 in the summer.

Martine Kallen, the tournament’s director said this week that an exceptional security plan had been put in place. “It is possible that matches will be postponed,” he told Swiss newspaper 24 Heures. “It could also be the case that matches are moved at short term to another stadium, or take place without an audience.”

Seven million people are expected to visit France during the tournament, and security officials in the host cities yesterday announced plans for precautions in the fan zones, including body searches, video surveillance and guards patrolling inside.

However, Kallen, who also directed the past three championships, had some reassuring words for fans, saying: “For the moment, there is no sign of a particular threat. But we want to be prepared for anything.”

The Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, one of the Euro2016 venues. But will spectators be allowed in? Photo: Valery Hache/AFP

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FOOTBALL

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage

French prosecutors on Friday called for a 15-year prison sentence for one of two Russians accused of beating a British supporter during Euro 2016, an attack that left him with brain injuries.

French prosecutors demand jail term for Russian accused of leaving England football fan with brain damage
Russian fans light flares at the match against England in 2016.. Photo: AFP

One prosecutor, Christophe Raffin, asked for the “legal maximum… between 14 and 15 years” for Pavel Kossov, who is accused of throwing the first punch at 55-year-old Andrew Bache.

Bache was injured in the violence that broke out before England played Russia in the southern French port city of Marseille on June 11th, 2016.

The second Russian on trial in Aix-en-Provence, Mikhail Ivkine, stands accused of throwing a chair at the victim, with prosecutors asking for a potential suspended sentence of up to five years.

He has claimed he was defending himself.

“No, it wasn't legitimate self-defence, it was illegitimate use of force against Andrew Bache,” Raffin said of the violence.

 

Police give emergency aid to Andrew Bache following clashes in the city of Marseille. Photo: AFP

The prosecutors said the Russians were part of a group of about 150 men, many with martial arts training, who wrought havoc in Marseille.

Bache, from Portsmouth in southern England, has no memory of the events and is too frail to attend the trial.

His son Harry, who nurses his father, is representing him in court.

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