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Hosts Germany ramp up security for Euro 2024 amid rising hooligan threats

Hosts Germany ramp up security for Euro 2024 amid rising hooligan threats

The 17th edition of UEFA Euro is here and host Germany have decided to amp up the protection and security

Germany is gearing up for an unprecedented security operation for the upcoming Euro 2024, which kicks off this Friday. With hundreds of thousands of fans expected, the country is mobilizing its largest police deployment since the federal police force was established in 1951.

Germany amp up protection for EURO 2024

Daily, around 22,000 officers will be on duty, with all holidays suspended until the tournament concludes in mid-July. To bolster local police, international police forces will also lend support. German local state police and federal police have been practising tactics in preparation for the event in the village of Stützerbach.

German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser highlighted the country’s comprehensive preparation for a range of potential issues, from Islamist terrorism threats to hooligan violence and cybersecurity challenges. She emphasized, “The police will have a strong presence wherever large numbers of people are on the move. This will be a major effort, as I said before, but it is also crucial for the tournament.”

What measures are being taken and why

Recent years have seen a rise in football-related violence across Europe, with notable incidents in Greece, Turkey, and France. Euro 2024 matches will be held across ten German cities, including four in the densely populated Rhine-Ruhr metropolitan region.

In preparation for possible clashes, a significant training exercise took place in Stützerbach, where hundreds of police officers practised responding to a simulated scenario involving violent football fans. The spectre of past violence at football tournaments looms large, with memories of Euro 2016 in France, where Russian hooligans attacked English fans in Marseille, still fresh.

Check out more latest news on UEFA Euro 2024

England vs Serbia EURO 2024 game declared high-risk

Sunday’s England vs Serbia match in Gelsenkirchen has been classified as “high-risk” by UEFA. To mitigate potential violence, fans will be permitted to drink only low-alcohol beer outside the stadium, and alcohol consumption will be banned in the stands.

Policing this event will be more challenging as UEFA has requested the removal of barriers, with fans seated close together and two-thirds of tickets allocated to mixed areas. Chief Inspector Christof Burghardt expressed his concerns, stating, “I think it’s a very high-risk game because of the history, because of the hooligans both sides have. Serbia has many hooligans. The English guys, with alcohol, they are sometimes very aggressive. So it’s a great job to do this, to prepare, so that hopefully nothing will happen.”

What added measures are being taken for England vs Serbia

Ahead of the match, officers used a league game in Gelsenkirchen as a test run, randomly checking fans for weapons and alcohol at the gates. Inside, police closely monitored the crowd, using CCTV to spot and track a group of masked ultras gathering in the stands.

With over 300,000 British fans expected to travel to Germany for the tournament, the largest British police deployment since 2016 will be on hand to help maintain order. These so-called police spotters will aim to address antisocial behaviour and drink-fueled violence by engaging with fans before situations escalate.

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