Brussels City: Hosting Belgium-Israel Soccer Match Impossible Due to Insecurity

Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 16 draw - Nyon, Switzerland - February 28, 2020 General view of the UEFA logo at UEFA Headquarters. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 16 draw - Nyon, Switzerland - February 28, 2020 General view of the UEFA logo at UEFA Headquarters. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
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Brussels City: Hosting Belgium-Israel Soccer Match Impossible Due to Insecurity

Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 16 draw - Nyon, Switzerland - February 28, 2020 General view of the UEFA logo at UEFA Headquarters. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse
Soccer Football - Europa League - Round of 16 draw - Nyon, Switzerland - February 28, 2020 General view of the UEFA logo at UEFA Headquarters. REUTERS/Denis Balibouse

Staging an upcoming UEFA soccer match between Belgium and Israel in Brussels would be impossible due to insecurity and likely protests, the municipal government of the Belgian capital said on Wednesday.

"The city of Brussels considers it impossible to organize a Belgium-Israel match in the King Baudouin Stadium," it said in a statement.

"After a careful and in-depth analysis, we must conclude today that the announcement of such a match in our capital in these particularly troubled times will undoubtedly lead to large demonstrations and counter-demonstrations, jeopardizing the safety of spectators, players, Brussels residents and our police forces."

The UEFA Nations League match is scheduled for September 6.

Israel's war in Gaza has sparked global demonstrations, including in Belgium where pro-Palestinian activists have organized protests and sit-ins at universities, leading to some Belgian universities partly or wholly severing ties with Israeli institutions.



Iconic Sites Hosting Paris Olympics Events

France's paralympian cyclist Florian Jouanny poses at the Bir-Hakeim Bridge ahead of the Paris Olympics and Paralympics. Joël SAGET / AFP
France's paralympian cyclist Florian Jouanny poses at the Bir-Hakeim Bridge ahead of the Paris Olympics and Paralympics. Joël SAGET / AFP
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Iconic Sites Hosting Paris Olympics Events

France's paralympian cyclist Florian Jouanny poses at the Bir-Hakeim Bridge ahead of the Paris Olympics and Paralympics. Joël SAGET / AFP
France's paralympian cyclist Florian Jouanny poses at the Bir-Hakeim Bridge ahead of the Paris Olympics and Paralympics. Joël SAGET / AFP

The Paris Olympics have been designed to showcase the City of Light in all its splendor, with events taking place at iconic locations.
AFP looks at five sites set to wow ticket-holders -- and a global TV audience of billions -- during the 17-day extravaganza starting on July 26:
Eiffel Tower
The most famous of the Paris landmarks, the Eiffel Tower, will welcome beach volleyball.
The action will take place in a temporary venue near the foot of the "Iron Lady".
Next door, the Champs de Mars park at the foot of the tower will host judo and wrestling.
Reviled by some Parisians when it was unveiled in 1889 for the World Fair by engineer Gustave Eiffel, the Eiffel Tower has become the capital's symbol.
Besides being one of the world's top tourist attractions, pulling in seven million visitors a year, it is also a working telecoms tower, used for radio and TV transmissions.
Winners at the Paris Games will all go home with a small part of the iron colossus. Each medal will contain an 18g crumb of original iron, removed during renovations, melted down and reforged.
Grand Palais
Fencing and taekwondo battles will take place in the opulent setting of the Grand Palais exhibition hall, a glass-and-steel masterpiece created for the World Fair of 1900.
Its distinctive feature is its glass domed roof, the largest of its kind in Europe, which covers a cavernous exhibition space of 13,500 square meters.
During World War I, the Grand Palais put its art collection in storage and converted its galleries into a military hospital where soldiers were patched up before returning to the trenches.
In the 21st century, the airy nave has hosted giant installations commissioned from some of the world's leading artists.
It has also been flooded to make the biggest ice rink in the world.
Place de la Concorde
The vast, paved square at the foot of the Champs-Elysees avenue, where heads rolled (literally) during the French Revolution, will serve as an urban sports hub.
Skateboarding, 3x3 basketball, BMX freestyle and, in its first Games appearance, breakdancing, will all take place on the elegant square by the Seine.
Its harmonious name conceals a bloody past. King Louis XVI and his wife Marie-Antoinette were guillotined there in 1793 during the Reign of Terror that followed the 1789 French Revolution.
The largest square in Paris is defined by its huge gold obelisk, one of a pair originally erected by Ramses II outside the temple in Luxor in Egypt. It was gifted to Paris in 1830.
Palace of Versailles
Dressage, showjumping and equestrian cross country will take place in the park of Versailles Palace, some 20 kilometers from Paris. It also features on the marathon circuit and hosts pentathlon events.
In the 17th century, "the Sun King" Louis XIV transformed Versailles into a home of French royalty, where he resided with around 10,000 staff.
The vast gardens include a mile-long canal that once hosted opulent parties.
It has been a world heritage site since 1979 and is a firm favorite on the Paris tourist trail.
Marseille
The Olympics are spreading beyond the capital.
Sailing contests will take place in the Mediterranean city of Marseille, France's boisterous second city, better known as the home of Olympique Marseille football team.
Over 300 sailors from across the world will battle it out on the sapphire Mediterranean waters off the city. A marina has been built along the scenic Corniche coastal road heading southeast out of the city.
It's unlikely they'll have the sometimes ferocious mistral wind in their sails. It usually blows in winter and spring.
Marseille, which will also host 10 football matches, was where the Olympic torch landed in France on May 8 on its relay to Paris.