Tuesday 25 October 2016

'The bus stopped and armed police jumped out' - Irish players stunned by level of security

Published 10/06/2016 | 08:45

Shay Given has admitted to being surprised by the level of security
Shay Given has admitted to being surprised by the level of security

Ireland’s most-capped goalkeeper, Shay Given, has revealed that the players have been shocked by the level of security at the tournament.

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France is braced for around 10 million visitors for the month-long football event which opens when the French take on Romania at the Stade de France.

Over the next month, 80,000 police and soldiers and 12,000 private security guards will be deployed to protect matches and  the “fan-zones” from any repetition of the November Paris attacks.

“We have a few armed guards with us – and I wouldn’t want to mess with them,” said Given. “That’s the first time I’ve had that at a tournament and they are travelling everywhere with us. I suppose we’ll get used to it, but it does seem a bit weird. It’s a difficult time in France after the attacks [in Paris] last year and it’s the same for every team, we have to make sure everyone is safe.

“A couple of times we have stopped on the bus and a few gunmen have jumped out [of the bus] – it can be a little bit nerve-racking on that front. But that’s only been because there was traffic in the end.

“We’re well protected and you have to have faith in the security and the French services, they are trained in this.”

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