Thursday, 24 March 2016

EURO 2016 Behind Closed Doors If Needed - O'Neill

Martin O’Neill would reluctantly accept Euro 2016 games being played behind closed doors if the ongoing terror threat meant that was the only alternative.

Uefa said on Wednesday that it had no plans to keep supporters out of games at this summer’s finals in France in the wake of Tuesday’s attacks in Brussels.

However, O’Neill, the Republic of Ireland manager, admitted that – should security chiefs decide that is the best solution to guarantee the safety of all involved – they would have to do it.

He said: “If someone wants to make an attack as happened yesterday, it’s very, very difficult to deal with that, but overall the security that we’re being provided with is really excellent and like everything else, I’d comply with anything that is happening.

“There’s talk about matches being played behind closed doors, but the safety of people is of paramount importance and anything that is agreed upon, we will fall in line.

“If that is an alternative and it’s the only alternative, then if we are going to have the competition, we may have to comply with it.”

Heightened security around the tournament is likely to have repercussions for Ireland and their fans around their base in Versailles.

O’Neill said: “If security is tightened, as it probably will be, then maybe the players might have to stay closer to the hotel. I don’t think we want to turn away supporters, but at the same time security, I think people will realise that it might be very, very tight.”

Meanwhile O’Neill is concentrating on Friday night’s friendly encounter with Switzerland and the following game against Slovakia on Tuesday.

The midfielder Jeff Hendrick has returned to Derby for treatment on a longstanding shoulder injury, while the Stoke striker Jonathan Walters is expected to return to the Irish camp before the second game after heading home as he nurses a minor hamstring strain.

The captain Robbie Keane again sat out training on Wednesday, but O’Neill is confident he will be available for both games.

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