Belfast Telegraph

Football Supporters' Federation calls for measured response to terror threat

The Football Supporters' Federation (FSF) has called for a "proportionate" response from clubs, governing bodies and police after the attack on Borussia Dortmund's team bus on Tuesday.

The incident, which involved three explosions, took place as the bus travelled from the team hotel to the Westfalenstadion about 90 minutes before their Champions League quarter-final against Monaco.

The match was promptly postponed until 17:45 BST on Wednesday and Dortmund's Spanish defender Marc Bartra has since had surgery on a broken wrist.

Having found a letter claiming responsibility at the scene, German police have described it as a "targeted attack" and on Wednesday an Islamic extremist was detained for questioning.

Coming so soon after similar incidents elsewhere in Europe, including the fatal explosions before a France-Germany friendly in Paris in November 2015, there are wide calls to beef up security around major sporting events.

But speaking to Press Association Sport, an FSF spokesperson said: "It's important to supporters that they are able to attend football in safety but it's equally important that security measures are proportionate.

"One hundred per cent safety can never be guaranteed. It's vital that terrorists do not succeed by disrupting this much-loved part of our way of life."

With 10 Premier League games scheduled this weekend and Monday, it is inevitable that questions will be asked over the measures being taken by the clubs and local authorities.

A Premier League spokesman said the league's stance has not changed since the terror attack on Berlin's Christmas Market in December, when all relevant information from the security authorities was shared with the clubs.

He added: " Premier League clubs take safety and security very seriously and have a range of policies and provisions in place. They routinely work closely with the police and with their local safety advisory group."

This message of close cooperation with the police, was echoed by a spokesman for the English Football League, who said the league is "conscious" of the security issues and safety is "of paramount importance to ourselves and our clubs".

He stressed, however, there have been "no specific threats to football in this country" and said the league's security advisor is in regular contact with the 72 EFL clubs, as well as rolling out a safety training programme for club staff.

And with Wembley set to stage the semi-finals of the FA Cup on April 22 and 23, a Football Association spokesman said: "As is always the case, we will collaborate with the local authorities, the Metropolitan Police and the clubs to ensure we have a robust security operation in place before, during and after the fixtures."

There was no formal statement from the Scottish Professional Football League but it is understood it is encouraging its 42 clubs to continue to be vigilant.

FIFA and UEFA have both expressed similar sentiments, with the latter promising "enhanced" security measures "wherever needed" and asking supporters to allow extra time for the possibility of additional checks.


From Belfast Telegraph