Protecting Euro 2016 and the Rio Olympics: Lessons Learned from London 2012

Protecting Euro 2016 and the Rio Olympics: Lessons Learned from London 2012

June 6, 2016

Author(s): Richard Walton

Conceptual: The up and coming summer of game brings extraordinary and novel security challenges. In the wake of Islamic State assaults in Paris and Brussels, the terrorist risk to the UEFA Euro 2016 football (soccer) competition is more intense than for any worldwide donning occasion ever. In spite of the fact that the danger from Islamist terrorism is a great deal less intense for the Rio Olympics and Paralympics, any Olympic Games is a potential terrorist target, particularly during a time of progressively globalized fear. The British experience creating and executing a security plan to ensure the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics gives valuable lessons to ensuring vast, universal donning occasions from terrorist assaults.


The UEFA Euro 2016 football competition, which commences June 10 at the Stade de France in Paris, is one of the greatest donning occasions on the planet. Throughout a month, 24 European nations will play 51 matches at 10 venues around France with 150 million TV viewers anticipated that would tune into each live match.[1] In the wake of the Islamic State’s terrorist assault on France’s capital and national stadium last November and its proceeded with ability and expectation to strike France, the terrorist danger to the competition is more intense than for some other universal donning occasion in history.[a] While the risk from Islamist terrorism to the Rio Olympics, which starts August 5, is no place close as intense, Brazilian powers should stay careful around a scope of security dangers and arrangement for an extensive variety of situations.

This article draws on my experience creating and actualizing a security plan to ensure the 2012 London Olympics and Paralympics, the United Kingdom’s biggest always policing operation, with a specific end goal to plot the security challenges confronting France and Brazil this late spring and to offer lessons learned.

Worldwide wearing occasions give an impeccable focus to terrorist bunches and a definitive open door for a shocking and typical terrorist assault. The Olympic Games, with its mass offer and worldwide gathering of people, is especially alluring as an open door for political articulations, to incorporate great savagery, for example, terrorism.[2] With billions viewing and the world’s media amassed, cutting edge innovation empowers unnerving pictures to be telecast over the world in seconds. Fabulous exhibitions, for example, these showcase the qualities that al-Qa`ida, the Islamic State, and other terrorist bunches reject: world solidarity, majority rules system, religious opportunity, fairness, and private enterprise. Opening functions are an especially alluring focus for a terrorist bunch. No less than 33% of the banners conveyed at the Rio Olympics, for instance, will speak to nations that have added to the U.S.- drove military coalition against the Islamic State.

Brandishing occasions of assorted types have for some time been focused by terrorist bunches. Amid the 1972 Olympics in Munich, a Palestinian terrorist bunch took individuals from the Israeli national group prisoner, in the long run executing 11 competitors and mentors and also a police officer.[3] In the decades that took after, donning occasions were over and again in the focus of terrorist gatherings. Somewhere around 1972 and 2004 there were 168 terrorist assaults connected to sports.[4] The Atlanta Olympic Games in 1996 were disturbed by a bomb exploded at a music show at Centennial Olympic Park in an assault that was prompted by a previous U.S. Armed force soldier.[5] Olympic delegates were again focused in 2006 when shooters raged an Olympic board of trustees meeting in Baghdad and hijacked 30 individuals.[6]

Football and cricket occasions have likewise been focused on. Hours before Real Madrid’s 2002 Champions League elimination round match against its opponent Barcelona, an auto bomb left by the Batasuna Basque separatist group[b] blasted near Bernabeu Stadium in Spain’s capital, harming 17 people.[7] Pakistan has had two huge terrorist assaults connected to cricket. The initially happened in 2002 when 14 individuals, including 11 French maritime specialists, were killed in a suicide besieging outside the Karachi inn where the New Zealand cricket group was sitting tight. The second occurred in 2009 when the Sri Lankan cricket group’s transport was assaulted by the terrorist bunch Lashkar-e-Jhangvi in transit to a match against Pakistan.[8]

The Threat to Euro 2016

The Euro 2016 competition comes at a troublesome time for France, as yet recouping from a progression of dangerous assaults the nation over that, in the previous two years, have killed 147 individuals and truly harmed hundreds more. France keeps on supporting the coalition’s air battle over Syria and Iraq, and its leader, Francois Hollande, has proclaimed time and again that his nation is at war with the Islamic State.

France was singled out in a fatwa conveyed in September 2014 by Abu Mohammad al-Adnani, the Islamic State’s authentic representative and the man in charge of its worldwide terrorist operations in Europe.[9] French insight organizations thought that it was difficult to keep the assaults that took after. Their difficulties were exacerbated by permeable outskirts over the European free travel territory (the Schengen Area) where terrorists and weapons moved crosswise over nations unhindered by fringe checks.

Ahead of the pack up to Euro 2016 the leader of the French local knowledge organization, Direction Générale de la Sécurité Intérieure (DGSI), Patrick Calvar, depicted the danger to France in stark terms: “Unmistakably, France is the most undermined nation … we realize that Daesh [the Islamic State] is arranging new assaults.” He included that while “the assaults of last November were completed by suicide planes and Kalashnikov-using shooters to amplify the quantity of casualties, we hazard being gone up against by another type of assault: a terrorist crusade portrayed by the setting of hazardous gadgets in spots where there are huge group and rehashing this kind of activity to make an atmosphere of panic.”[10] Last month France augmented its highly sensitive situation from the November Paris assaults through Euro 2016. This national stance gives powers a scope of forces, including the capacity to place people who are esteemed a security risk under house arrest.[11]

Not just does France stay in the line of sight of the Islamic State, however the gathering has as of now demonstrated an abnormal state of purpose and ability to target global football matches in the nation, as was shown on November 13, 2015, when three Islamic State suicide planes exploded themselves outside the Stade de France amid a worldwide agreeable amongst France and Germany. Stand out individual was executed outside the stadium, yet seven were genuinely harmed. Numerous more could have been killed if the assaults had been planned for when the 75,000 fans were arriving or leaving the venue or if the assailants had possessed the capacity to pick up section to the stadium.[12]

France Paris Attacks Stadium

Stade de France in Paris taking after the November 2015 assaults (AP)

With the eyes of a huge number of TV viewers concentrated on France, Euro 2016 is a considerably more appealing focus for the Islamic State in light of the fact that the gathering has been especially quick to accumulate greatest universal media scope to enhance dread and dread. At that point there is the reprisal variable, which may make Euro 2016 an overwhelming focus on; a few nations joining in the competition have been focusing on the supposed caliphate with airstrikes, including France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and Belgium.

Agents were not hence shocked when Mohamed Abrini, the purported “man in the cap” at Brussels airplane terminal, told Belgian investigative specialists that Euro 2016 was the objective of the Islamic State cell that did the Paris and Brussels assaults. These cases are as yet being surveyed, however Belgian powers trust that when key individuals from the cell were captured, the rest of the terrorist agents changed their arrangements and assaulted Brussels air terminal and a metro station.[13]

Note that the Islamic State will be distinctly mindful that any assault anyplace in France by its agents or adherents amid Euro 2016 will get worldwide, broad communications scope. It doesn’t need to assault stadiums to accomplish this bonus; it can assault fan zones or other alleged vulnerable objectives not straightforwardly connected with football and still be seen as having assaulted the competition. It ought to likewise be noticed that as a result of its late fruitful assault on Paris, the Islamic State has possessed the capacity to sow dread in front of the competition essentially through talk and dangers. This will add to unavoidable security alarms amid Euro 2016.

Al-Adnani tightened up dangers in an audiotape discharged in May calling for Islamic State warriors and supporters to escalate their endeavors to hit the West amid the month of Ramadan, which begins three days before Euro 2016 and concurs precisely with the tournament.[14] Last year the Islamic State had told its adherents they would get 10 times the magnificent prizes for completing assaults amid the Islamic sacred month.[15]

The Paris and Brussels assaults, which were completed by a for the most part Franco-Belgian Islamic State terrorist cell, plainly showed the gathering’s ability to dispatch an assault in France amid Euro 2016. Upwards of 9,000 Europeans have ventured out to join jihadist bunches in Syria and Iraq, with upwards of 1,500 now evaluated to have come back to European soil.[16] According to the DGSI, more than 2,000 French nationals and inhabitants are on the radar screen of French household knowledge for their connections to jihadist systems in Syria and Iraq, with more than 600 accepted to be right now living in the two countries.[c]

As DGSI boss Calvar as of late noted, al-Qa`ida and its associates in Syria, Yemen, and North Africa still represent a threat to France. It is conceivable that al-Qa’ida’s system will attempt to sort out an assault amid Euro 2016 to take the Islamic State’s thunder

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