By Amos Murphy
With its easy access from mainland Europe added with the increasing number of refugees attempting to get to the UK through the country, France’s multicultural society is as diverse as they come. With the obvious benefits of such a multicultural society, it poses an extreme risk however to Islamic State, other terrorist groups and the subsequent attacks which follow.
So with this in mind, surely the safest and most logical option would be to cancel the forthcoming European Championships and reorganise it somewhere else? Wrong. Despite the above figures Euro 16 will go ahead as planned making football supporters sitting ducks.
Now by no means am I saying that every other country in the world is immune to terrorist attacks and whenever a major sporting event is held in whichever country it increases the likelihood of such attacks taking place massively. It does seem fatuous however, to have a competition like this in such a terror ridden country.
The probability of such attacks are amplified greatly and if organisers needed anymore evidence to support the claim to cancel the tournament, why didn’t they look at the events of the 13th of November 2015?
On that particular night, which saw the death count reach 130, the evenings events began at the home of French football – the Stade De France. Whilst the graphic details of that nights events don’t need repeating, it’s the significance of the match which was targeted (or the sheer lack of it), which causes the questions to be asked.
The high concentration of people gathered in such a small vicinity, added with the increased tension between Syria, Iraq and France made this run-of-the-mill and bleak international friendly the perfect opportunity for IS to establish themselves as one of the most feared groups in the world.
Fast forward seven months, and an estimated 500,000 people are expected to travel from the UK to France this summer; half of them without tickets either. This makes for at least 250,000 Brits alone crammed into streets and fan parks across the country. Now I’m not condoning, wishing on or publicising any terrorist attack of sorts to take place during the tournament; I am however in a way expecting one.
The recent events in the countryalong with France’s controversial political standpoint means that this summers tournament could be the perfect excuse for IS to inflict more pain and suffering into our Western society. The French military claim to be “upping security immensely” but is this all futile and are there already planned attacks in place?
Of course the organisers haven’t cancelled this summers tournament because of the damage it would do to their personal bank statements. All of the stadiums have been built and everything is set for the tournament to take place and would cost ‘far too much’ to cancel now.
Corruption in football and particularly UEFA is at an all time high but this is different to money laundering or match fixing; some of the many wrong doings synonymous with Europe’s governing body. The decision to go ahead asks severe questions about the morals of those in charge and whilst we’ve known for some time they have no regard for the fans in terms of their money or integrity; the disregard shown towards their safety and livelihood is unprecedented.
The only thing we can do is wait and pray that the days leading up to, in-between and following June 10th – July 10th go unscathed but should the seemingly inevitable occur, colossal questions will have to be asked of the ones who put innocent football fans at such an enormous risk.