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Counter-terrorism focus at UEFA seminar


UEFA, national associations and international experts came together at a seminar in Munich to discuss measures to counter the danger of terrorist attacks at football stadiums.

A stadium bomb sweep
A stadium bomb sweep ©UEFA

The threat of terrorist attacks at football matches has become a genuine concern – and UEFA is taking a proactive role in generating dialogue, sharing best practices and discussing measures to counter the danger.

Over 150 delegates from 40 national associations joined UEFA and international experts in Munich at a masterclass to discuss the issue.

The overall aim was to help show how to protect people against an attack, and was addressed through four themes: the reality of terrorism; the way terrorists operate; how to respond to the threat; and best practices.

Significantly, 16 of the countries present suffered an attack in 2016/17, underlining the extent to which terrorism was a shared problem across Europe.

The seminar opened with a specially-made UEFA video – themed on the faces of terrorism. The 15-minute video provided a historical overview of attacks over the years, in particular at mass events.

It was agreed that the video reinforced the reality that exists – and delegates expressed their resolve to do what was needed to protect the fans.

Seminar participants then reflected on the current threat to their events, and highlighted what they were already doing to deal with terrorism, and the challenges they still faced.

Notwithstanding their responsibilities and accountabilities, participants were reminded not to overreact, and so forget the lessons of history. Counter-terrorism work was no stand-alone activity - but had to be integrated within a balanced approach to safety, security and service.

The Munich gathering concluded by examining how to recognise suspicious signs, confronting routine and the importance of multi-agency training and exercises.

A key point agreed upon was that technology alone is not the answer. Technology forms only 20% of the security recipe – 80% is following procedures and using eyes and ears – and so costs nothing extra.