"The safety of fans is of paramount importance" - Martin O'Neill discusses the option of playing Euro 2016 behind closed doors

The Ireland manager was speaking ahead of this Friday's clash with Switzerland

Martin O'Neill says the prospect of playing European Championship matches behind closed doors is "not ideal" but that the safety of fans is of "paramount importance".

In the wake of the Brussels terror attacks which claimed the lives of 34 people and injured hundreds of others, O'Neill said that he would be working closely with authorities to ensure that his players and fans of the team would remain safe.

Security concerns at this summer’s finals have been raised, prompting Uefa executive committee vice-president Giancarlo Abete to suggest that games could take place behind closed doors – although a Uefa spokesperson has since denied that there are such plans in place.

O’Neill admitted they would reluctantly have to comply with Uefa’s decision.

"If someone wants to make an attack as happened yesterday, it's very difficult to deal with that" he began.

"But overall, the security that we're provided with is really excellent. I will comply with anything that is happening there.

"There's talk about matches being played behind closed doors, but I think the safety of people is of paramount importance. We will fall in line with anything that is agreed upon."

The 64-year-old acknowledged that there are a high number of Irish fans who have bought tickets to see the games, but insisted that it is in the best interest of the fans that safety protocol is observed.

"If that [playing behind closed doors] is the alternative then we will have to comply. It's not ideal and of course at this stage people will have paid a lot of money to get tickets. 

"If it comes to that it's obviously going to be very difficult to deal with, but if that's the only solution then we'll have to deal with it. It's been sprung on us a this moment and there may be differing thoughts over the course of the next few weeks."