Brussels Attacks: Belgium Move Friendly To Portugal

Belgium’s friendly against Portugal next week has been switched from Brussels to Leiria in Portugal after Tuesday’s attacks which killed more than 30 people in the Belgian capital.

The match was called off for security reasons before Portugal’s football association offered a alternate venue.

The Belgium team will train at the King Baudouin Stadium – where the match was originally to be staged – on Wednesday.

The game will be played next Tuesday (19:45 GMT), as initially scheduled.

Captain Vincent Kompany was “horrified and revolted” by the incidents.

“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,” he wrote on Twitter.

Next week’s match is the second Belgium friendly in succession that has not gone ahead as scheduled.

In November, their match against Spain in Brussels was called off following the Paris atrocities, which killed 130 people.

Meanwhile, Netherlands’ match against France in Amsterdam – 108 miles away from Brussels – will go ahead as planned on Friday.

This week’s round of international friendlies are warm-up games before Euro 2016 in France, which starts on 10 June and features 24 teams, playing 51 matches at 10 venues across the country.

The Stade de France was one of the targets in the November terror attacks on the French capital, with an explosion outside the ground as France played Germany.

Following the fixture, the Germany players slept in the stadium before traveling home.

Uefa said it would continue to “monitor the level of risk for the tournament”.

It added there were “no plans to play matches behind closed doors”, despite the idea being suggested by UEFA vice-president Giancarlo Abete.

“We are nevertheless working on contingency plans and on multiple scenarios around crisis situations since we take the security of all participants (players, fans, etc) very seriously,” said UEFA.

Wales manager Chris Coleman, whose side are making their European Championship debut, said on Wednesday: “It’s such a huge event, everybody wants to see it, not just countries involved. It’s our first time.

“Football is the biggest sport in the world, everyone wants to see it and it would be robbing people of what they love. Hopefully it goes ahead as planned.”

Martin Kallen, UEFA operations director, told BBC Sport that fan zones around the tournament – where large numbers of football supporters gather to watch games on large screens – will still go ahead.

Credit: BBC


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