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Football stadium terror plot foiled in France ahead of the Olympics

A football stadium terror plot has been foiled by French police just weeks before the 2024 Olympic Games are set to take place in the country. France has been on high alert for terrorism in the build-up to the games and the news is unlikely to calm the nerves of those with tickets to Olympic events.

The French Interior Minister, Geral Darmanin, confirmed on Friday that French Police have arrested an 18-year-old in Saint-Etienne. The teenager was reportedly preparing to attack the Geoffroy-Guichard Stadium in the city during the Olympics with the stadium set to host several football matches during the games.

Football stadium terror plot
A terror plot has been foiled ahead of the Olympic Games – Photo by Icon Sport

The investigation found that the 18-year-old was planning on targeting spectators in the 42,000-seater stadium and that it was a suicide mission. Investigators believe that the suspected terrorist wanted to ‘die and become a martyr' according to Darmanin. He added that the suspect was inspired by Islamic State ideology.

According to reports, the teenager was caught after exchanging encrypted messages with other known terrorists. After he was arrested, photos and videos of the stadium were reportedly found on his electronic devices.

Football stadium terror plot the latest concern ahead of Paris 2024

The foiled attack on the French Stadium is positive in that it displays French intelligence is top of potential terrorism ahead of the games. However, it is negative in that it is the latest piece of evidence that is causing so many to worry about the Olympics.

There are concerns about the grand and open nature of the opening ceremony which will see athletes sail down the River Seine. Security fears have already scaled back attendance numbers from 600,000 to 300,000 and President Macron has suggested that the ceremony could be scaled back further if the security risk is deemed too high.

The French government are using 20,000 soldiers and 40,000 police officers for security at the Olympics while thousands of troops and police officers from other countries are also being drafted in. Meanwhile, security services have been screening one million people involved in the Games to ensure maximum safety.

Responding to the arrest, the Paris Olympics organising committee said in a statement: “We applaud the efficiency of the law enforcement services and their exceptional mobilisation to ensure the security of the Games.”

The 2024 Olympic Games will begin on the 26th of July and finish on the 11th of August.


Andy Delaney

Andy is a freelance sports writer with ten years of experience covering major sporting events across Europe. He has also been a season ticket holder at Old Trafford since 2008 and has visited over 40 football stadiums in the United Kingdom and abroad following the Reds.

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