Uefa says Champions League matches to go ahead despite terror threat

Security increased ahead of PSG's match against Barcelona in Paris

Security is set to be 'considerably reinforced' for Wednesday's Champions League match in the French capital between Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona after a terror threat. AFP
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European football's governing body Uefa has said the Champions League quarter-final ties will go ahead as scheduled amid an ISIS terror threat.

The Emirates Stadium will host the first leg of Arsenal's last-eight tie against Bayern Munich on Tuesday, while Manchester City are away at Real Madrid.

On Wednesday, Paris Saint-Germain and Barcelona face off in the French capital, while Atletico Madrid host Borussia Dortmund.

A media outlet linked to the terror group issued a threat to all four ties.

“Uefa is aware of alleged terrorist threats made towards this week's Uefa Champions League matches and is closely liaising with the authorities at the respective venues,” a statement from Uefa said.

“All matches are planned to go ahead as scheduled with appropriate security arrangements in place.”

France's interior minister Gerald Darmanin said security will be “considerably reinforced” for Wednesday's match at the Parc des Princes.

“The police, with whom I spoke very early this morning, have considerably reinforced the security measures,” Mr Darmanin told reporters.

PSG manager Luis Enrique admitted the developments are worrying.

“Who is not worried or concerned by terrorist threats?” Luis Enrique said in his pre-match press conference.

“I hope it is a thing we can control and that they are just threats and that nothing will happen.”

Spanish police forces have decided to deploy 2,000 extra officers to boost security in Madrid for the two games, government spokesperson Pilar Alegria said.

She said the terrorism alert level had been raised to four on a scale of five.

The players, however, have to focus on the matches, assuming they will go ahead.

While most of the attention in PSG's clash with Barcelona will be on star forward Kylian Mbappe, Ousmane Dembele will also have a point to prove against his former side.

Mbappe has 39 goals for PSG in this campaign, which is likely to be his last there. Dembele has only one.

However, Dembele offers a different skill set, something that Barcelona are all too aware of.

The France star returned to his home country last August after six seasons in Catalonia, with PSG paying a reported Є50 million to sign him on a five-year deal.

That relatively paltry sum in the modern transfer market for a world-class player was due to financial turmoil at Barca.

Moving to Paris allowed the Normandy native to team up with Luis Enrique, who he said had previously wanted to sign him when Dembele was breaking through at Rennes.

Dembele may need to weigh in with more goals next season once Mbappe has departed, but for now he has at least provided more assists than any other player in France this season.

He has been played in a withdrawn central attacking role in key recent matches – the Champions League last-16 second leg away to Real Sociedad and the clash with domestic rivals Marseille.

Meanwhile, Luis Enrique added spice to the encounter by insisting he represents more closely the values of the Catalan club than his counterpart Xavi Hernandez.

“I do, without doubt,” the PSG manager said.

“Just look at all the stats and the trophies won, and without any doubt I represent the Barca way better, although others may have different opinions.”

Luis Enrique, 53, spent the last eight years of his career at Barca, winning two La Liga titles under Louis van Gaal.

He later coached Barca from 2014 to 2017, leading them to Champions League glory in his first campaign and overseeing two Spanish title triumphs.

Xavi played under Luis Enrique in that side. The pair were earlier teammates at the Camp Nou.

Xavi, 44, played more than 500 games for Barca and returned as coach in late 2021. He led the Catalans to the Spanish title last season, but recently announced he will leave the club at the end of the campaign.

“I have to say that I don't know Xavi at all as a coach, only as a teammate and as a player because I worked with him,” added Luis Enrique.

“I know Barca very well and I know their players but I don't know if that is an advantage or not.

“Emotionally this means a lot to me because of my experiences there.”

Updated: April 10, 2024, 2:08 PM