UEFA denies Euro 2016 to be played 'behind closed doors'

Europe's footballing body, UEFA, has denied comments made by one of its executives that the increased terrorist threat in Europe would mean that this summer's Euro 2016 championship could be "played behind closed doors."

"We are confident that all security measures will be in place for a safe and festive Euro and therefore there are no plans to play matches behind closed-doors," the European footballing association said in a statement on Wednesday.

"However, we are nevertheless working on contingency plans and on multiple scenarios around crisis situations since we take the security of all participants [players, fans etc] very seriously," it added.

"Following yesterday's events in Brussels, UEFA wishes to reaffirm its commitment in placing safety and security at the centre of its organisational plans," it said, and would "regularly monitor the level of risk for the tournament."


Uefa's updated comment on the will be a balm to football fans across the continent after remarks by the association's executive committee vice president sin which he suggested that soccer matches in the Euro 2016 championship in France could be played "behind closed doors."

"Euro 2016 is the kind of event we can't delay or postpone," Giancarlo Abete had told Radio 24 on Tuesday.

"We can't exclude the possibility of playing behind closed doors as we cannot exclude terrorism. If we talked about potentially cancellable games such as a friendly or a competitive match that could be moved to another date, obviously this would not be the case."

Abete's comments followed several suicide bombings in Brussels on Tuesday in which at least 31 people died and many more were injured. The city's airport and a metro station were targeted, continuing a trend of Islamist-inspired attacks on European capitals and public places.

Such a strategy could make the Euro 2016 a key target for terrorists, the tournament's organizers fear. The tournament starts on June 10 and the final is scheduled to take place a month later at the Stade de France, a venue targeted by suicide bombers in the Paris attacks in November last year when France and Germany were playing.

On Wednesday, Brussels asked the Belgian Football Association to cancel the football match between Belgium and Portugal on 29 March.

- By CNBC's Holly Ellyatt, follow her on Twitter @HollyEllyatt. Follow CNBC International on Twitter and Facebook.