Security operations in sport under review after Manchester attack

Published May 24th, 2017 - 05:17 GMT
Police patrol outside the Friends arena in Stockholm on May 23, 2017, on the eve of the UEFA Europa League football final between Ajax and Manchester United.
Police patrol outside the Friends arena in Stockholm on May 23, 2017, on the eve of the UEFA Europa League football final between Ajax and Manchester United. Odd ANDERSEN / AFP

Security measures at upcoming big sports events in Britain and elsewhere are under review in the wake of the Manchester suicide attack which left 22 dead.

From the FA Cup final at Wembley on Saturday and the June 3 Champions League final in Cardiff to Wimbledon and cricket's Champions Trophy in upcoming weeks - British organizers and authorities will be taking another look at their plans to safeguard athletes, officials and fans.

In Germany, the authorities are checking their measures again for Saturday's cup final in Berlin, while Swedish police were safe-guarding the Europa League final in Stockholm scheduled for Wednesday night.

There appears to be no direct threat against any event but sport is taking no chances - even more after the Stade de France was one of the targets in the Paris attacks in November 2015.

Most attention in Britain will be on the two big football matches at Wembley and Cardiff with its tens of thousands of attending fans.

Extra armed police officers will be present in both cities as part of heightened security since Monday's attack at the Manchester Arena.

"Over the coming days as you go to a music venue, go shopping, travel to work or head off to the fantastic sporting events you will see more officers - including armed officers," The BBC quoted London Metropolitan Police commander Jane Connors as saying.

The English Football League urged fans attending the Arsenal v Chelsea cup final to "be vigilant of their surroundings at all times" and like the Football Association told them to come early because of extensive security checks.

The FA spoke of "an enhanced security operation for all upcoming events" which also include lower division play-off games at Wembley Sunday and Monday.

While most fans attending Saturday's final will be from London owing to the finalists, the Cardiff match a week later will see tens of thousands of Real Madrid and Juventus fans descend on the Welsh city.

Even before Monday's attack the Welsh FA spoke of "the biggest security operation undertaken in Cardiff" which ranges from road closures to an outer security perimeter which can only be passed by ticket holders or accredited people.

South Wales police acting constable Richard Lewis said Tuesday that Monday's attack doesn't change the security operation but has led to more officers in the streets of Cardiff.

He said 6,000 officers in all will ensure that "the public of Cardiff and visitors from Italy and Spain and the world feel safe and secure."

Lewis said security planning was based on a "severe threat level" and insisted: "We are ready for this event."

German authorities are also reviewing their measures at big events, with Berlin the centre of attention on the weekend as host of the protestant church congress and the cup final between Dortmund and Eintracht Frankfurt.

Interior minister Thomas de Maiziere said that security forces must take notice that the Manchester attack came at the end of an event - a concert - but added that 100 per cent safety can never be guaranteed.

"We must simply face this really brutal danger for the time being," de Maiziere said.

By John Bagratuni

© 2019 dpa GmbH

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