Belgium calls off soccer friendly against Spain over security concerns | News | DW | 17.11.2015
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Belgium calls off soccer friendly against Spain over security concerns

Belgium has called off a friendly soccer match against Spain after the country raised its terror threat level. Germany, meanwhile, has confirmed that six of its players will not face off against Netherlands on Tuesday.

The Belgian football federation announced late Monday that it had called off Tuesday's friendly against Spain over security concerns.

The announcement comes after Belgium's national crisis center, under the Interior Ministry, raised the terrorist threat level and recommended the cancellation of the match on its website.

"After consulting with the relevant bodies and the Spanish national team, the URBSFA (Royal Belgian Football Association) decided to cancel the match," the federation said.

'New elevated terrorist alert'

The football federation said they made the decision late on Monday after the government recommended that the game not be played.

"It is in the context of a new elevated terrorist alert and the current pursuit of a suspect."

"We deeply regret that such a friendly match between two motivated teams had to be canceled so late and we understand the disappointment of numerous fans."

The attacks in Paris began when two explosions were set off by suicide bombers outside France's national soccer stadium while the national team was playing Germany.

A 27-year-old Belgian man has been identified by France as the mastermind behind the attacks, in which 129 people were killed and more than 350 injured. The search for suspects is ongoing.

France set to play England

Other matches are still scheduled to go ahead on Tuesday evening amid heavy security, with France set to face off against England at Wembley Stadium in London.

Germany is set to host the Netherlands in Hanover. However, six players for Germany have already been declared inactive by German national team coach Joachim Löw at a pre-match press conference on Monday.

smm/cmk (AP, AFP, Reuters)

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