French Mayor Terrified For Euro 2016’s British Fan Invasion

Source: OpenDomain
Source: OpenDomain

 

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England vs Wales is understandably billed as the headline fixture for the group stages of Euro 2016 and is expected to draw a massive global audience.

Dubbed the Battle of Britain, the England vs Wales fixture will be held in one Euro 2016 most northerly stadiums, located in the French city of Lens.

The mayor of Lens, Sylvain Robert has admitted he is apprehensive about the number of England and Wales fans who could turn up and potentially overrun the city during Euro 2016.

 

Source: OpenDomain
Source: OpenDomain

 

“We hope the suggested figures are not the same as the actual number of fans who will turn up.”

Sylvain Robert, Mayor of Lens

 

It has been predicted more than 100,000 fans could swarm the city on the match day, a worrying prospect for Lens, which normally accommodates a population of less than 40,000.

A 10,000 capacity fanzone has been set up for fans who arrive without a ticket but it’s extremely unlikely that will be sufficient to contain the boisterous British fans.

Source: Wikipedia
Source: Wikipedia

 

Lens’ Stade Bollaert-Delelis is capable of holding 35,000 fans and according to Paul Corkrey of the Welsh branch of the Football Supporters’ Federation, the arena:

 

“…is one of the best stadiums in France – but the problem is that’s all that’s good about it.”

“The fan zone is very small. To have a tournament of this size there is strange because there are not many amenities there for supporters. I wouldn’t go there.”

Paul Corkrey, Football Suppporters Federation

 

The fixture is certainly set to be a tense affair and would put a strain on any city, regardless of esteemed infrastructure. UEFA have maintained that Lens is a perfectly suitable venue for the headline tie, although Robert is concerned that his city’s reputation could be damaged by the tie:

 

“It’s not that we would be happier to have fewer people, it’s that we would be happier if we can host fans in good conditions.”

Sylvain Robert, Mayor of Lens

 

It would be such a shame if the most anticipated fixture of Euro 2016’s group stage was tainted by an UEFA oversight.

Considering that England and Wales fans are set to outnumber the locals by almost 3 to 1, it shouldn’t be too difficult for Lens to supply the atmosphere the fixture deserves.