The Courier & Advertiser (Angus and Dundee)
‘Green carpet’ for fans departing for Euro 2016
Supporters warned of disruption after strikes and fuel blockades resulted in travel chaos
The exodus of hopeful and expectant football fans to France for Euro 2016 has begun, against a backdrop of terror threats and strike action across the Channel.
Supporters heading out of London’s St Pancras International station on the Eurostar were given the green carpet treatment as staff marked their departure by turning the platform into a makeshift pitch.
England are among the first of the 24 teams in action, taking on Russia in Group B on Saturday evening, 24 hours after the hosts open the tournament against Romania.
Wales also play on Saturday, against Slovakia, while Northern Ireland take on Poland the following evening. Republic of Ireland fans will have to wait until Monday to see their team take on Sweden.
Fans have been warned to expect disruption in France after a wave of travel strikes that have brought chaos to the transport network.
Trains have been cancelled across France in an industrial dispute between drivers and the rail service, while oil refineries were hit by blockades as part of an extensive protest movement against labour reforms.
Fans have also been warned to remain “vigilant at all times” in the face of the terrorism threat.
Updated advice from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office has highlighted stadiums, fan zones, other venues broadcasting the tournament and transport hubs as potential targets.
Earlier this week, officials in Ukraine revealed they had arrested a Frenchman who was apparently inspired by extremist right-wing beliefs to plot a series of strikes in his homeland after buying an arsenal of weapons in an undercover sting.
Meanwhile, there was laughter in the House of Commons when David Cameron urged Scotland to get behind the other home nations at Euro 2016 as he poked fun at the country for failing to qualify for the tournament.
Speaking during Prime Minister’s Questions, he said: “I’m sure this is one occasion when the whole House will want all the home nations to stay in Europe for as long as possible.”
Mr Cameron was looking towards SNP MPs as he spoke and members across the House then started to laugh.