Belgium cancels Spain football friendly over security concerns


The Paris terror attacks have prompted the Belgian football authorities to call off Wednesday’s international friendly against Spain due to concerns over the security of players and fans.

The Royal Belgian Football Association (RBFA) announced that the match, which was scheduled to be played at the Stade Roi Baudouin here, was called off following consultations with the Spanish federation.

“In consultation with the competent authorities and the Spanish national team, the Belgian FA has decided to cancel the match.

At the very end of the evening the Belgian FA was contacted by the government, who made the recommendation not to play tomorrow’s match. This is because the terror alert level is high and with the current leakage of a suspicious person,” the RBFA said in a statement on Tuesday.

The mastermind of the attacks in Paris — which have left around 129 people dead — has been traced to Belgium with Brussels-born Salah Abdeslam thought to be one of the key suspects.

The Stade de France was targeted during the Paris attacks last Friday while an international friendly between France and Germany was in progress. Three people were killed in that incident after a suspected suicide bomber blew himself up outside the stadium.

There were security concerns over the match in the Belgian capital as well. The Belgian government raised the terror threat level to three on Monday, indicating a serious threat.

“We deeply regret that such a friendly match between two motivated teams has been cancelled so late and we understand the disappointment of many supporters. However, taking into account the exceptional circumstances, we cannot take any security risk with players and fans. Ticket holders will get more information about tickets in the course of this week,” the RBFA statement said.