Thursday, October 15, 2009

Polish hooligans to riot at Czech match?

From: Polish Radio
Hoardes of Polish football fans expected in Prague
Czech media is warning citizens against the hoardes of Polish football fans expected in Prague for Saturday's World Cup qualifying match.

A leading Czech newspaper, Lidove Noviny, reports that Polish fans are renowned throughout Europe for having a particularly rowdy and unsavoury reputation.

“From a safety point of view, this will be the most demanding match our team has seen in a few years,” Miroslav Platil, head of security for the Czech Football Federation, adding that the Federation has been preparing extra security measures for almost two months.

Lidove Noviny writes as well that, wherever Polish football fans appear, there always seems to be run-in with police and with fans from other teams.

“In the majority of European countries, football-related violence happens away from the stadium. Not in Poland,” claims the daily. The paper adds, however, that Polish hooligans tend to lash out in violence, despite efforts by Polish football clubs, teams and the Polish Football Association to curb such actions. Czech sports channels have been airing footage of Polish hooligan violence – particularly focusing on the riots that broke out in Belfast, Northern Ireland, earlier this year.

Police and security services have been preparing to secure the stadium and surrounding areas in Prague before the match.

“The operation has two elements – internal and external. The first concerns security in Prague, while the second focuses on security throughout the Czech Republic. We are dispatching police in civilian clothing to many cities around the country. We are working closely with Polish police and are hoping to detain many hooligans at the border,” Martin Synecky, security specialist in the Czech National Police department, is quoted as explaining in the paper.