No big screens will go up in public places in Brussels-Ixelles for Football World Cup 2018, but football lovers will be able to see the Red Devils in action on giant screens in Molenbeek and Jette.
Wafaa Hammich, spokesperson of Brussels Mayor Philippe Close, confirmed a Wednesday report by Bruzz Media that giant screens would not go up in Brussels. She said the decision covered the entire Brussels-Ixelles police zone and was taken in consultation with Ixelles Mayor Dominique Dufourny.
Hammich explained that the decision was taken for security reasons. “It would mean mobilising many police officers, especially since we’re an international city with 184 nationalities,” she said. However, there is currently no ban on hotels, bars or restaurants. They install the giant screens on their terraces.
Mustafa Er, spokesman for Molenbeek-Saint-Jean Mayor Françoise Schepmans, said the Machtens Stadium, in collaboration with the RWDM team, would be open to supporters for viewing the matches on big screen as had been the case two years ago at UEFA Euro 2018. “The screen will be placed on the field and spectators will be able to view the matches from the pitch,” Er said. “It’s a closed location and therefore easier to control than public places.”
Jette Mayor Hervé Doyen has also given the thumbs up for a giant screen, which will be set up at the Place du Miroir. Work is currently being done at the square, but it will be completed in time for the Red Devils’ first match. “The Place du Miroir is a rectangular square which easily lends itself to security measures,” Mayor Doyen said.
“Four years ago, we’d already set up quite an impressive security arrangement,” Doyen said. “The square was closed completely on one side. There was only one entrance, and searches were done there. We had police in plain clothes in the crowd and we implemented passive security measures: no glasses, no tables etc. The event got bigger from one match to the next. It was a light-hearted, family atmosphere. At the time, we received praise for the organization. This type of event really brings people together.”