Hooliganism threatens Euro 2012, Polish PM warns

Updated: 12 May 2011 10:08 IST

Poland ratcheted up the pressure over football hooliganism on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Donald Tusk warning it posed a threat to Euro 2012, after crisis talks with the nation's clubs.

Hooliganism threatens Euro 2012, Polish PM warns

Warsaw:

Poland ratcheted up the pressure over football hooliganism on Wednesday, with Prime Minister Donald Tusk warning it posed a threat to Euro 2012, after crisis talks with the nation's clubs.


"If we can't settle this within months, the European Championships will be endangered," said Tusk, himself an ardent fan and Sunday league player.

After meeting with the 16 clubs in Poland's top-flight Ekstraklasa, Tusk said he had raised the spectre of widening empty-stadium penalties imposed on Lech Poznan and Legia Warsaw, whose fans marred last week's cup final.

He pledged to take "resolute action" to stem the problem.

"We understand how annoying a state reaction can be for some people, but we're not going to give up on this one. Nobody has relieved us of the responsibility to provide people with a sense of security," he added.

Tusk's centre-right government had already vowed to get tough with hooligans ahead of the showcase tournament, which Poland will host with neighbouring Ukraine.

It has promised a raft of measures, such as fast-track handling of troublemakers, with special rooms being set up in stadiums with video links to courthouses from which judges will try the defendants.

In addition, hooligans who have already been banned from Poland's stadiums face electronic tagging.

Around 1,800 people are currently serving hooliganism-related stadium bans in Poland, a nation of 38 million. They will be jailed right away if they breach their tag conditions.

But the latest outburst of fan violence has upped the ante for Tusk.

Poland's headlines have been dominated by the hooliganism issue in the wake of the cup final fracas in the northern city of Bydgoszcz on May 3.

After a 1-1 draw, Legia won 5-4 on penalties and supporters of both sides invaded the pitch. Besides assaulting police, stewards and reporters on the pitch, they also smashed up seats and other stadium equipment.

The brawl underlined longstanding concerns about hooligan in Poland particularly as there are only 13 months to go until the 16-nation championships kick off in Warsaw.

On Tuesday, Polish police announced they had detained 26 people involved in the Bydgoszcz trouble. They warned that more arrests were on the cards because they had identified a total of 70 individuals involved.

They have faced criticism from Polish media however for failing to make arrests at the match itself, in stark contrast with the tougher approach of police in many other European nations.



Topics : Alou Diarra Football Lech Poznan Poland Euro 2012
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