Euroleague working day 3
Nothing like it had been seen in the pavilion of the Fuente de San Luis. The arrival of Maccabi Tel Aviv to Valencia, its first appearance since the conflict between Israel and Hamas began, forced the deployment of a huge security device that, connected to several Spanish cities, mobilized nearly 700 police officers after the Ministry of Interior decrees maximum alert. Valencia Basket fans, fearful that there could be a terrorist attack, preferred to be cautious and miss their team’s seventh consecutive victory this season (75-66). The attendance did not reach 3,000 spectators (2,809, according to the club), when 7,000 had attended in the first two Euroleague games.
La Fonteta became a bunker. The surrounding streets were closed to traffic and a police officer was stationed every five meters in front of the main façade of the pavilion. Beforehand, a canine unit had passed by to reduce the risk of there being an explosive device. The Maccabi bus, which had been staying outside the city, arrived two hours before the game escorted by four motorcycles and six armored vehicles, from which armed security members protected with gas masks emerged. Meanwhile, from the air, surveillance was reinforced with a helicopter and a drone.
In front of the sports facility, in a park, several police teams established a second control zone behind the sealed perimeter. Parked on the sides of Hermanos Maristas Avenue, three ambulances were waiting in case they were necessary. And police on horses patrolled around while some curious fans took photos and recorded videos. One of them explained that he came from his town even though his daughter had begged him not to go to the game. “But basketball is my life. And I am not going to allow terror to take away what I like most.”
The Euroleague match, the second played by an Israeli team since the first Hamas attack – the day before Happoel played in Venice – began with a minute of silence for the victims of this conflict and Maccabi asked to play in a black shirt as a sign of mourning. In the stands, according to the usual regulations of the competition, all flags or banners with a political meaning were prohibited.
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