UEFA has issued a statement reassuring fans over the security of the Europa League final. Heightened security has long been planned for the event and UEFA says there is no cause for concern.
The statement comes only hours after the terrorist attack at a concert held at the Manchester Arena. An explosion inside the arena claimed the lives of 22 people and a further 59 were injured. Police are currently investigating the attack. It is unclear at this stage whether the attacker acted on his own or was part of a larger network.
The tragic incident occurred less than two days before Manchester United play Ajax in the Europa League final. Naturally it will be an event involving thousands of spectators and their security is paramount. UEFA says they have worked for a long time with Stockholm authorities to guarantee the complete safety of participants at the game.
UEFA says there is no intelligence report to suggest the final would be targeted by terrorist attacks. “There is currently no specific intelligence which might suggest that any of the UEFA Europa League final activities in Stockholm may be the target of attacks,” the statement reads.
“UEFA has been closely working with local authorities and the Swedish FA for many months and the terrorist risk had been taken into account since the very beginning of the project. Furthermore, a number of additional security measures were implemented following the attacks in Stockholm last April.”
“Due to the tight security arrangements, UEFA urges fans to arrive at the stadium as early as possible, as detailed checks will be made at the entrances, resulting in potential delays in accessing the stadium.”
UEFA president Aleksander Ceferin offered his condolences to the victims of the Manchester attack. “I am deeply saddened by the horrible terrorist attack in Manchester last night. It shocks me that so many innocent people lost their lives and I would like to send my condolences to the families of those affected.”
Players for the top Manchester clubs, City and United, were also among the ones offering messages of support. Manchester United Wayne Rooney said this: “Devastating news this morning. Thoughts and prayers are with all those affected.”