Sunday 11 December 2016

Former French World Cup winner: 'We can't guarantee fans' safety and we must forego hosting Euro 2016'

Published 16/11/2015 | 12:02

Football fans gather on the field of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on November 13, 2015, after a series of gun attacks across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. Three loud explosions were heard outside France's national stadium during the first half of a friendly international football match between France and Germany. At least four people died outside the glittering venue which staged the 1998 World Cup final with several others seriously hurt. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
Football fans gather on the field of the Stade de France stadium following the friendly football match between France and Germany in Saint-Denis, north of Paris, on November 13, 2015, after a series of gun attacks across Paris as well as explosions outside the national stadium where France was hosting Germany. Three loud explosions were heard outside France's national stadium during the first half of a friendly international football match between France and Germany. At least four people died outside the glittering venue which staged the 1998 World Cup final with several others seriously hurt. AFP PHOTO / FRANCK FIFEFRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images

France should relinquish hosting rights to Euro 2016 in the wake of the Paris terror attacks, according to 1958 World Cup star Just Fontaine.

  • Go To

The 82-year-old 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.

The death toll from the attacks stands at 129 with many more seriously injured and Fontaine, who holds the record for the most goals scored at any single World Cup finals after hitting 13 at the 1958 tournament in Sweden, believes his country should cede the tournament to someone else.

"Any other country could stage the event, but we cannot," he said in quotes reported by German newspaper Die Welt.

"I think France should forego the tournament," he added.

Read more here:

"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?"

The draw for the finals will take place in Paris on December 12, with the three remaining participants still to be determined by play-offs on Monday and Tuesday.

The chief organiser of the tournament, Jacques Lambert, promised over the weekend that France would take the ''necessary decisions'' to ensure next summer's event took place in safety in the wake of Friday's attacks.

''To ask questions about the cancellation of Euro 2016 is to play into the hands of the terrorists,'' Lambert told French broadcaster RTL.

''The risk level was up a notch in January (after the attacks on the Paris offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine), and it just got up a notch.

''We will take the necessary decisions for Euro 2016 to take place in the best safety conditions.

''I will not reveal what we are going to do because that would alert our opponents. The security in stadiums works well, the risk is more out in the streets, in spontaneous gatherings.''

Mourad Boudjellal, the president of Toulon, 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.

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."

Online Editors

Read More

Promoted articles

Editor's Choice

Also in Sport