'Robust' security steps for Champs League final

MADRID • Madrid will deploy an unprecedented number of police and security personnel for tomorrow's all-English Champions League final, and use a drone for the first time to monitor fan activity.

The Spanish authorities have also banned trucks weighing over 31/2 tonnes, deemed "high risk", near the Metropolitano stadium, the venue for the match between Liverpool and Tottenham.

Trucks will also be barred from the vicinity of the two fan zones that will be set up in the city centre.

"We will have a very, very robust security apparatus in place to try to ensure everything takes place normally and everyone can enjoy (the match)," the director-general of Spain's National Police, Francisco Pardo, told a news conference.

Some 4,700 police officers and private security guards will be deployed, more than the nearly 4,000 used for last year's Copa Libertadores final between Argentinian rivals River Plate and Boca Juniors in Madrid, a match that was also declared "high risk" by authorities.

"This will probably be the biggest deployment to guarantee security which we will carry out at a sporting event in Madrid," said Pardo.

Police will for the first time deploy a drone to provide aerial monitoring to prevent fan trouble at a sporting event, he added.

The authorities expect around 32,000 ticket-holding fans from both teams to attend the match at the 68,000-capacity stadium, and thousands more without a ticket to go to Madrid from Britain as well as southern Spain and neighbouring Portugal.

British police are sharing intelligence with their Spanish counterparts and will be in Madrid to assist in the security operation.

While there is no great history of rivalry between the two sides, six Liverpool fans were arrested in Barcelona for public disorder on the eve of their meeting in the Champions League semi-final first leg.

Spanish sports daily Marca summed up the angst sparked by the final with a front-page headline on Monday that ran in big yellow letters: "FEAR".

The authorities also plan to keep the fans of each team separate at all times. They will arrive at different airport terminals and take different metro lines to the stadium from their respective fan zones.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 31, 2019, with the headline ''Robust' security steps for Champs League final'. Print Edition | Subscribe