France wanted to play England for symbolic reasons: FA

Mon Nov 16, 2015 10:59am EST
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LONDON (Reuters) - France wanted Tuesday's friendly international against England to go ahead at Wembley Stadium mainly for symbolic reasons following Friday's deadly attacks in Paris, said FA chief executive Martin Glenn.

"The eyes of the world will be on the game. It's important to do something to show that terrorism can’t win," Glenn told a packed news conference which focused mainly on the security situation ahead of the match.

France were playing Germany in Paris on Friday as a wave of attacks hit the city, killing at least 132 people.

The France squad spent Friday night inside the Stade de France with their Germany counterparts after their 2-0 friendly win over the world champions.

"We spoke to the French Federation on Saturday, and were in touch with the French presidents' office and there were two conditions to hold the game," added Glenn.

"UK authorities and government need to make sure it was safe and the French wanted to play. They wanted to go ahead, for mainly symbolic reasons, and we were very happy to meet their concerns."

England manager Roy Hodgson added: "It will be tough I'm sure for the French players but I'm sure it will be a chance for them to do the country proud. They'll give everything they can to make France proud."

Glenn advised supporters to get to the game early because of the extra security checks that will be carried out in the wake of the attacks that also left more than 350 people wounded.

Islamic State claimed responsibility and said it sent militants with suicide bombing belts and carrying machine guns to various locations in the heart of Paris.   Continued...

Football - England Press Conference - The Grove Hotel, Hertfordshire - 16/11/15
FA Chief Executive Officer Martin Glenn during the Press Conference
Action Images via Reuters / John Sibley