Portugal and Euro 2004: Guarding the Goal

Large gatherings of sports fans and high-profile teams are potential security nightmares. Plans for the August Olympic Games in Greece have been carefully dissected. There has been much less attention given to Euro 2004, the European football championship to be played this month in Portugal

The World Today
Published 1 June 2004 Updated 16 October 2020 3 minute READ

Manuel Paulo

Junior Research Fellow, Africa Programme, Chatham House

The acute threat posed by terrorism to innocent people around the world has forced the Portuguese authorities organising Euro 2004 to shift their primary security focus from hooliganism to a potential attack. The current international situation makes the championship a major target, especially following the bombings in nearby Madrid on March 11 and the level of international media attention the tournament will receive.

Euro 2004 is a contest between sixteen national teams and 368 players. Millions of fans worldwide are likely to tune in to an event expected to be covered by around eight thousand journalists. Over a million football fans are planning to visit Portugal. The presidents and prime ministers of victorious nations will add to the headaches by arriving to cheer their teams on.

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