UEFA issue statement confirming France will remain host of Euro 2016

SoccerBy Sunday World
There had been calls for France to give up its hosting duties in the wake of the Paris Attacks
There had been calls for France to give up its hosting duties in the wake of the Paris Attacks

Euro 2016 will remain in France, UEFA has announced.

The country's hosting of the tournament has come under scrutiny since Friday's terrorist attacks in Paris, which killed 129 people with many more seriously injured.

France's 1958 World Cup star Just Fontaine was one prominent figure to call on the country to give up hosting rights, claiming: "It is simply too dangerous".

But a statement from UEFA on Monday read: "For over three years now, (tournament organising committee) Euro 2016 SAS has been working closely with the relevant authorities to develop the most appropriate mechanisms in order to guarantee there is a safe and secure tournament and we are confident that the necessary measures will be taken to ensure that is the case for all involved.

"The Euro final draw will go ahead as scheduled on 12 December at the Palais des Congres in Paris and the final tournament will be played in France from 10 June to 10 July 2016."

Fontaine, 82, was present at the Stade de France on Friday night when the stadium was one of the venues targeted in what appeared to be co-ordinated attacks across the French capital.

Explosions could be heard inside the stadium as three suicide bombers detonated vests outside the ground while the friendly between France and Germany continued.

Fontaine, who holds the record for the most goals scored at a single World Cup finals after hitting 13 at the 1958 tournament in Sweden, said in quotes reported by German newspaper Die Welt: "Any other country could stage (Euro 2016), but we cannot.

"I think France should forego the tournament.

"I am very afraid that this black Friday could be repeated. I think we cannot guarantee the safety that is required to host such a big event.

"It is simply too dangerous. Do you really think that people are going to go to the Stade de France in future?"

UEFA's statement, though, read: "Following the dramatic events that occurred last Friday in Paris, UEFA and Euro 2016 SAS wish to reaffirm their commitment in placing safety and security at the centre of their organisational plans.

"While there is no reason to believe that the Euro might become the target of any attack, the potential terrorist threat has always been taken into account since the beginning of the project. Euro 2016 SAS and all stakeholders involved in the organisation of the tournament will continue their joint work and will regularly monitor the level of risk for the tournament and their respective organisational plans."

France will still face England at Wembley on Tuesday, while Paris St Germain have confirmed their women's team's Champions League last-16 tie against Orebro will go ahead at their Stade Charlety home on Wednesday, the first match played in Paris since the attacks.

Marseille's 'Ultras' group set aside the traditional rivalry between OM and PSG to erect a banner on the Boulevard Rabatau, in the south of Marseille, on Sunday evening proclaiming "Nous sommes Paris" (We are Paris).

Several French news outlets, though, reported that the banner had been torn down during the night and was found in pieces on the ground on Monday morning.

Outside of football, Toulon president Mourad Boudjellal has suggested the postponed European Rugby Champions Cup game against Bath could take place during the RBS 6 Nations.

All Champions Cup and Challenge Cup matches that were due to be played in France over the weekend were postponed following the Paris attacks.

The knockout stages of the Champions Cup are not set to take place until early April while the Six Nations kicks off on February 6.

Bath chairman Bruce Craig has suggested the Toulon fixture may never take place and Boudjellal did concede any rearrangement would prove complicated, highlighting the difficulty in potentially releasing international players to play for their clubs, but he was willing to find a solution.

"Playing on Wednesday isn't possible," he told French sports daily L'Equipe.

"I can only see one solution... It would mean that the (national team) coaches would have to accept not being able to call up international players of Bath or Toulon in order for us to be able to play the match during a matchday of the Six Nations."