MADRID – Over 5,000 security forces, most of them from the National Police, have started to be deployed around the Spanish capital ahead of the Champions League final between English teams Tottenham Hotspur and Liverpool at the Wanda Metropolitano Stadium on Saturday night.
The final, one of the biggest soccer events of the year in Europe, has once again posed a security and organizational challenge to the city, after the South American equivalent Copa Libertadores final on Dec. 9.
The Champions League final has returned to Madrid after nine years, and this will be the fifth time that the Spanish capital will host Europe’s highest profile soccer game.
A total 4,200 officers of the National Police, along with 500 municipal police, 500 paramedics and 700 security guards will be deployed.
A National Police drone will fly near the stadium, and a joint team of police and UEFA will have joint teams to provide assistance and information to fans.
Around 16,000 fans from England, as well as thousands from other parts Spain with large British expat communities, such as the Costa Blanca and Costa del Sol, are expected to travel to the city for the match.
English soccer fans have a checkered history when traveling to games in Europe, and minor incidents were reported involving Liverpool supporters in Barcelona during the semifinal last month.
Three security cordons will be set up around the stadium and fans and their possessions closely searched before being allowed inside.
Although the gates of the stadium will not open until 6:00 pm local time, fans are recommended to arrive from five onwards to avoid crowding at the security checkpoints.
Along with fan zones, three festival zones have been set up in the city with activities and concerts in Plaza de Callao, Puerta del Sol and Plaza Mayor.