As the European Championship 2024 approaches in June 2024 across ten cities in Germany, organisations attending the tournament will be well underway with their planning for the event.
For decades, International SOS has provided extensive medical and security analysis and assistance to clients during major international events, including recent Games in Beijing (2022), Tokyo (2020), Pyeongchang (2018), and the Men’s World Sport Tournament in Qatar (2022), Russia (2018), Brazil (2014), and South Africa (2010). Our experts offer valuable insights into best practices for organisations preparing for The European Championship 2024, considering the inherent risks and operational challenges.
Security Threats during the European Championship
The European Championship 2024 is expected to attract visitors from around the world, with millions of fans following the tournament both on television and at public viewings. The tournament, being of significant scale and visibility, may be susceptible to an array of security threats. Although Germany is ranked as a LOW security risk country by International SOS, the dynamic environment, especially in light of the ongoing Israel-Gaza crisis, presents unique challenges.
To ensure the safety of visitors, German authorities work closely with the federal states, the host cities, the organisers and the stadium operators. International collaboration is also necessary, including the security authorities of the participating, neighbouring and transit countries, as well as the European Union and the European Council. (Source: BMI - Mit Sicherheit gut vorbereitet bund.de).
One potential threat is a terror attack, as evidenced by recent security measures at Cologne Cathedral following a potential threat alert on Christmas Eve last year. The European Championship 2024 poses a high-value target for radicalised individuals and groups seeking to exploit widespread media coverage. Although German authorities are actively involved in securing the event, residual risks remain.
Additionally, the threat of social unrest, a constant concern in the German security landscape, is heightened. Large-scale protests in 2023, involving climate activists, and farmers, indicate the potential for increased activism during The European Championship 2024. Some may remember the opening match of the European Championship in 2021 between France and Germany, when a climate activist used the media presence to fly into the Munich stadium with a paraglider. He narrowly escaped a crash and injured two people.
Organisations should also anticipate dealing with cultural sensitivities, language barriers, accidents, illnesses, petty crime, cyber security concerns, and other potential threats.
Although International SOS ranks Germany as a LOW medical risk country, access to healthcare may become a challenge. It will be essential to have an experienced medical assistance provider who knows the medical healthcare landscape in Germany and will use its experience to facilitate appointments at vetted healthcare facilities. With its own Assistance Center in Frankfurt, International SOS has a large team of medical specialists who can handle medical cases of visitors and sponsors of the The European Championship 2024.
Risk Mitigation Strategies
Companies planning to participate in The European Championship 2024 should conduct a thorough, profile-specific risk assessment tailored to their organisation's needs and profile. This assessment should encompass all relevant medical and security risks, including terrorism, social unrest, and crime. Security advisories, areas to avoid, and alternative routes will all be integral in ensuring the safety of your workforce and the successful implementation of your own events before and during the The European Championship 2024.
Providing employees with awareness training prior to the tournament is crucial, covering appropriate behavior, security protocols, evacuation procedures, emergency contact numbers, and data security while travelling.
During The European Championship 2024 in Germany the likelihood of spontaneous outbreaks of unrest, rallies or hooliganism could occur and requires continuous monitoring and alert services based on predetermined criteria relevant to your travellers, their locations and the matches they will attend. Amid a diverse and varied media landscape that is increasingly susceptible to disinformation, access to reliable and timely information will thus be even more integral.
Learnings from the Qatar World Sport Tournament 2022 highlight that for countries with a LOW-risk rating, logistical and business continuity issues are primary concerns. Organisations need to address risks well in advance, ensuring staff are briefed on navigating the city. Also, flexible work schedules are recommended for all major events. Availability of 24/7 health, travel, and security assistance is crucial, either through a hotline or locally deployed professionals.
Organisations with employees or guests attending the European Championship 2024 must secure save accommodations and transportation well in advance due to high demand for lodging, rental cars and public transport during the tournament. Security managers should conduct comprehensive reviews of facilities, assessing the location and surrounding environment, access control, surveillance systems, alarms, and the standard of emergency and incident management planning.
For organisations with a workforce and operations in Germany, robust business continuity plans are essential. Considering local mobility challenges is crucial and requires thorough logistical assessments and staff briefings on navigating the city as well as flexible work schedules.
Responding to an Incident
Given the risks outlined above, organisations with travellers attending The European Championship 2024 should develop detailed emergency plans, including procedures for threatening situations or crises such as a terror attack. Identifying appropriate medical, security and logistical resources beforehand that can help in such critical moments is key. Simulation exercises in advance can ensure effective execution of these plans. Security managers may consider activating a security coordinator to provide real-time advice and facilitate interaction with relevant authorities during the tournament.
International SOS Support
For over 38 years International SOS has been at the forefront of supporting the health, safety, and wellbeing of our clients' workforce across the globe.
We have been providing 24/7 medical, security and travel assistance and on-the-ground support to our clients during similar scale sports events in Qatar, Tokyo, South Korea, Brazil, Poland, the UK, and others.
International SOS has an Assistance Centre, and extensive medical and security team in Germany to support our clients. We maintain an accredited network of logistics, security and medical providers which protect our over 9,000 clients’ across multiple industries and corporate sectors.