Football fans visiting Portugal for UEFA EURO 2004™ this summer will find "a well-organised and safe nation". This was the observation of General Leonel Carvalho, co-ordinator of the security commission to EURO 2004™, who was speaking at a workshop on security matters, which concluded today in Lisbon.
Members of Euro 2004, S.A. as well as other UEFA members and representatives of Portuguese police authorities attended the two-day event, the focus of which were the results of tests carried out at four recent matches in Portugal.
Gen Leonel Carvalho, who underlined the importance of good preparation to the security program, said: "After what we saw in this four-match test and during this workshop, I am convinced that Portugal will be seen not only as a welcoming country but also as a well-organised and safe nation."
Euro 2004, S.A. had singled out four matches as test cases: the league meetings between Sporting Clube de Portugal and FC Porto, and SL Benfica and Porto; Portugal's international friendly against England; and Porto's UEFA Champions League encounter with Manchester United FC. Yesterday, the day after the fourth of those matches, the organisers of this summer's finals gathered representatives of the police forces and security commission to analyse the outcome.
The four fixtures were played at the Estádio José Alvalade, Estádio da Luz, the Estádio Algarve and the Estádio do Dragão - all new venues which together will stage 18 of the 31 finals matches, accounting for 75 per cent of the total attendance.
Tournament director António Laranjo declared himself "satisfied" with the tests. He said: "The results of these special tests are very positive. This is the outcome of extensive work developed by Euro 2004, S.A. in close collaboration with the national authorities".
'New trends of security'
With 106 days to go until kick-off, the tournament director added: "If we consider that we are setting new trends of security at sporting events, we could not be more satisfied. The test scheme comprises different police forces, stewards, the volunteer program and ticketing among other aspects. It's normal that some details have to be improved."
Organisers hope to benefit from both new equipment and new legislation. Gen Carvalho cited the alcohol tests that will be administered to anyone appearing inebriated when trying to enter a stadium, which could result in them being refused entry.
Jacob Erel, UEFA's director of competition operations and a Euro 2004, S.A. board member, concluded: "Receiving thousands of people from different countries with different cultures and mentalities is a great challenge. But after what I seen during this two days, I am sure that we will have a big football festival."
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