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Friday 9 December 2016

Supporters to face strict fan zone searches

A French policeman patrols at the Euro 2016 fan zone near the Eiffel Tower in Paris yesterday. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters
A French policeman patrols at the Euro 2016 fan zone near the Eiffel Tower in Paris yesterday. Photo: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Republic of Ireland fans who travel to France for Euro 2016 but do not have tickets and plan to watch in the organised fan zones will face very tight security, UEFA have warned.

Ireland will have an estimated 40,000 fans in Paris for next Monday's game against Sweden, but many supporters will still travel to the French capital without tickets, while the small capacity for the second group game, against Belgium, means that many fans will be left outside the stadium.

UEFA have organised large-scale fan zones in all of the host cities, the largest here in Paris, but with an ongoing security threat in the aftermath of last November's terror attacks on Paris, security will be as tight there as in the stadiums.

"Stadium and fan zone security will be organised inn the same way, so entry to the fan zones and the stadia will be the same," UEFA's acting president Jacques Georges said at a pre-tournament press conference in the Stade de France last night.

"There will be a double security perimeter, a double security check. We had set up some typicall security measures, the ones we're used to using in France, but additional ones to increase safety at stadiums and official fanzones.

"A supporter who wishes to go to stadium or fan zone will go through one security check to makes rue they don't hold any weapons or explosives, that's valid for all stadia (bar St de France, for operational reasons)."

Meanwhile, UEFA last night also confirmed that they had a contingency plan to play games behind closed doors if necessary. Georges said this plan was not in place due only to a possible security threat but also in the event that severe weather conditions, as France has endured over the last two weeks, made one of the pitches unplayable.

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