Belgium friendly vs. Spain called off because of security concerns

1558230319888_1068188319810Belgium and Spain have called off Tuesday’s friendly in Brussels because of security concerns.

The Belgian football federation said the decision was made late on Monday after the government recommended that the game not be played.

French authorities have identified a 27-year-old Belgian as the mastermind of the Paris attacks on Friday. His current whereabouts are unknown. A major police operation took place in the Brussels neighborhood of Molenbeek on Monday, although it failed to yield any arrests related to the attacks.

The Ministry of the Interior’s Crisis Center had raised the threat level earlier on Monday, recommending the cancellation of the match on its website.

The Belgian FA released a statement indicating the decision was made in conjunction with its Spanish counterparts, and that it “deeply regretted” cancelling the match.

It read: “In consultation with the competent authorities and the Spanish national team, the Belgian FA has decided to cancel the match.

“At the very end of the evening the Belgian FA was contacted by the government, who made the recommendation not to play tomorrow’s match.

“It is in the context of a new elevated terrorist alert and the current pursuit of a suspect.”

“We deeply regret that such a friendly match between two motivated teams has been cancelled so late and we understand the disappointment of many supporters.

“However, taking into account the exceptional circumstances, we cannot take any security risk with players and fans.

“Ticket holders will get more information about tickets in the course of this week.”

Spain later also confirmed the scheduled friendly would not be played on Tuesday.

In total, at least 129 people were killed in six attacks in the French capital. Two explosions went off outside Stade de France during the national team’s match against Germany, killing three people, while it was reported that one gunman tried to gain access to the match.

France’s match against England at Wembley on Tuesday will go ahead as planned.

The organiser for next summer’s European Championships Jacques Lambert said Euro 2016, which is to be staged in France, would continue as planned.

“Wondering whether Euro 2016 must be cancelled is playing the game of the terrorists,” he told French radio station RTL on Sunday. “The risk went up one level in January, it has just gone higher.

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

“Security in stadiums works well, the risk is more in the streets, in spontaneous gatherings.”

UEFA also confirmed the tournament would not be cancelled because of terrorist threats.

source: myjoyonline.com

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