Belfast Telegraph

Attentions turn to security after Brussels terror attacks

Wales striker Sam Vokes admits players do think about security issues for Euro 2016 but accepts they have to trust in their national associations and organisers to put plans in place.

More than 30 people are believed to have been killed and many more injured after explosions at Brussels airport and a metro station in the city.

Following the terrorist attacks in Paris in November, the focus is back on security ahead of this summer's European Championships.

Asked whether it was something which the players considered ahead of a major tournament Vokes said: "I think so. As players it gets taken of your hands and the FAW (Football Association of Wales) will take all the precautions.

"It's something that will obviously be looked at before we go over there and you have trust in your Association that the security will be heightened.

"We can concentrate on what happens on the pitch but I'm sure behind the scenes the FAW are doing all they can over security issues."

Asked whether there was concern from family members Vokes added: "I think it's been like that since November but, of course, we're happy to go."

Norwich striker Dieumerci Mbokani escaped unharmed after being caught up in the terror attack at the airport on Tuesday morning.

The Canaries said the 30-year-old Congo international Mbokani was "unharmed but shaken" and had returned home to be with his family.

"The thoughts of everyone at Norwich City are with the victims of the atrocities in Belgium today and their relatives," added a club statement.

It is unknown whether Mbokani would be involved in Congo's Africa Cup of Nations qualifying double-header against Angola on Saturday and next Tuesday.

Belgium, whose friendly against Portugal at Brussels' King Baudouin Stadium next Tuesday has been put in doubt, cancelled their scheduled training session out of respect for the victims of the attacks.

A tweet from the Belgian team's official account, @BelRedDevils, read: "#tousensemble, our thoughts are with the victims. Football is not important today. Training cancelled."

Belgium and Manchester City captain Vincent Kompany wrote on Twitter: "Horrified and revolted. Innocent people paying the price again. My thoughts are with the families of the victims.

"I wish for Brussels to act with dignity. We are all hurting, yet we must reject hate and its preachers. As hard as it may be."

UEFA have said it will take "all necessary measures" to ensure Euro 2016 is a safe and secure tournament.

"Following today's events in Brussels UEFA wishes to reaffirm its commitment in placing safety and security at the centre of its organisational plans for UEFA Euro 2016," said a statement.

"EURO 2016 SAS and all stakeholders involved in the organisation of the tournament will continue their joint work and will regularly monitor the level of risk for the tournament and their respective organisational plans.

"For over three years now EURO 2016 SAS has been working closely with the relevant authorities to develop the most appropriate mechanisms in order to guarantee a safe and secure tournament and all necessary measures are being taken to ensure that is the case for all involved."

France's Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said the attacks merely focused the minds of the host nation.

"The events in Brussels remind us of the very high level of security which is necessary to ensure Euro 2016 is successful," said Cazeneuve, who at a press conference said the government would contribute £1.5million for CCTV projects to cover fan zones.

"Euro 2016 must combine sportsmanship, festivity and security for the teams, coaches and fans.

The Dwars Door Vlaanderen one-day cycling race in Belgium will proceed as scheduled on Wednesday after the Brussels terror attacks.

The race is the first of a series of Belgian one-day races, which include the prestigious Gent-Wevelgem and the Tour of Flanders.

A statement on race's website, read: "For the moment, Dwars door Vlaanderen will take place tomorrow, despite the terrorist attacks that took place in Brussels on Tuesday morning. The organisers mourn with the victims of these terrible acts."

Belgian golfer Thomas Pieters woke up, thousands of miles away, to the horrific news.

Competing in the WGC-Dell Match Play in Texas, the 24-year-old said: "It's a sad day.

"It's tough to just understand. I just don't get it. So many innocent people.

"I'm happy to be here. I feel safe here."

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