Snipers and 1,000 police to guard Euro 2016 matches

“So, what is your biggest fear, a terror strike or hooliganism?”

Ziad Khoury, the head of security for Euro 2016 answered almost before I had finished the question “Terrorism, of course.”

18 years ago, if he’d held the same position at France ‘98, the answer would not have been the same. How the world has moved on.

France is jittery and Paris particularly feels vulnerable. Its soul still wounded by the coordinated November attacks which left 130 dead.

What Khoury must plan for is the possibility that evil will revisit France, when it welcomes its European neighbours for this summer’s showpiece.

“Monsieur Securite” as he is known here holds a calm line in “protection with proportionality” when it comes to his terror strategy. He wants fans to have fun in June and not be in the constant shadow of an armed guard. Security will be there but usually in the background.

Less comforting I suppose, whatever Khoury’s plans, he admits he needs a slice of luck to pull them off. It may sound complacent but it is what every counter terror expert requires. There can be no absolute guarantees - it’s just the way it is.

It was quite clear spending some time with him that Khoury feels the stadia themselves will be safe environments for fans. There will be several layers of security before entry and each game will be martialled by 900 specially trained stewards, up to one thousand police officers (most of them armed), special forces and even snipers on rooftops.

ITV News Sports Editor Steve Scott reports:

Queues into grounds will be kept small and moved quickly. If someone does attempt an attack - they won’t get very far before meeting a volley of fire power. Well, that’s the theory.

However “softer targets” are a different story Khoury says. Hotels, training grounds, restaurants or transport hubs - any places that fans get together in large numbers are less easy to protect.

In these cases, intelligence is the best defence. As of yesterday there was no information that the Euros were a specific target but, of course, that can change in an instant.

Nearer the tournament Khoury, his team and other security agencies from France and beyond will talk on a daily basis, sharing information and resources.

And when you consider the task ahead of him, you understand why he is slightly dismissive of the prospect of hooliganism. Yes there are potential flashpoints, England’s games with Wales and Russia are both in the high risk category, but reading between the lines, Khoury would rather have to deal with a few old fashioned, drink fuelled punch-ups than respond to the unthinkable.

It might be not an impossible job but it feels pretty close to one.