Security raised for Champions League games after threat

Security is being increased at Champions League games after a media outlet supporting the Islamic State group published threats against venues.

Ministers in both France and Spain confirmed enhanced security measures.

A pro-IS media channel published several images of stadiums hosting quarter-final ties on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Uefa said it was aware of the threats, but said games in Madrid, Paris and London would go ahead as planned.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said there would be “considerably reinforced” security measures in place when PSG play Barcelona in Paris on Wednesday.

Darmanin continued: “I will remind you that only ten days ago, IS shared a picture of the Munich stadium and said action should be taken against sports venues that host football games – although all sports can be targeted. Given how important the Champions League is for football, we are of course talking to our partners.”

The jihadist images posted this week did not refer to any particular match or event and were shared by pro-IS media groups not officially linked to the organisation itself.

Two quarter-finals are being held in Madrid this week. Real Madrid are currently hosting Manchester City, while Atletico Madrid take on Borussia Dortmund on Wednesday.

Pilar Alegría, Spain’s sports minister, has issued a message of “calm” ahead of the games in Madrid and said “more than 2 000 police and civil guard officers” are being deployed.

The acting mayor of Madrid, Inmaculada Sanz, told Spanish media there was no specific threat afoot, adding the terrorist alert level in Spain was four out of five, which is classified as high risk.

“These announcements are usually propaganda actions to provoke fear,” she said.

“Both the security forces and the intelligence services are studying any possible threat, but there is nothing that makes us foresee a situation of special risk.” (BBC)

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