Cookie consent

We use cookies to improve your experience on this website. By continuing to browse our site you agree to our use of cookies. Tell me more | Cookie preferences

Polish police ready to crack down on Euro 2012 football hooligans

Polish police ready for soccer trouble

    Just Watched

    Polish police ready for soccer trouble

Polish police ready for soccer trouble 03:13

Story highlights

  • Polish police have spent years planning to create a peaceful Euro 2012
  • The tournament, co-hosted with Ukraine, is Poland's first major international sporting event
  • Police from nations competing at the tournament will be in Poland during the matches
  • Poland has had outbreaks of hooliganism at domestic football matches

Fans from across Europe will soon be traveling to Poland to support their teams during Euro 2012, but so too will police officers from each nation to keep an eye on them.

When their national teams are playing, visiting police officers will be at Poland's police headquarters in Warsaw, the nerve-center for security operations during the event.

Poland has a lot riding on the tournament it is co-hosting with Ukraine, and is no stranger to football violence.

Last year's Polish Cup Final between Legia Warsaw and Lech Poznan was a high-profile example of how domestic football in Poland is still blighted by hooliganism, as violent fans clashed with police and water cannons had to be used to control the crowd.

Even before that incident, UEFA, European football's governing body, had criticized Poland for football violence which it said was ruining the country's reputation.

However police in the capital have spent years preparing for Euro 2012 and reducing the potential of trouble from homegrown and international football hooligans. Like all major international events terrorism is the main security concern.

"The whole security plan is ready; the right equipment has been bought," says Mariusz Sokolowski, press officer for the Polish police force.

"The sites that needed to be renovated for the tournament have also been completed. And now it's a time to put all that we have done into practice."

The new National Stadium in Warsaw hosted a friendly match between Poland and Portugal in February this year, when the local police force was able to test their readiness. It was called a success by UEFA.

"We know what we deliver has to be the best, at the top level," says Beata Stelmach, Poland's Deputy Foreign Minister.

"We are absolutely the best prepared for Euro 2012 and welcome everybody who wants not only to see football games, but also to see how hospitable we are and how beautiful the country is."

Poland is following on from lessons learned at recent big European tournaments, like Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, and Germany's staging of the World Cup in 2006. There will be "fan zones" with big screens and entertainment dotted around the major cities, where traveling fans without tickets can watch the matches.

"The less we are visible and less we need to act the better the event will be as it will show that Euro 2012 will be a very safe event," says Sokolowski.

      Eye on Poland

    • Katarzyna Biniek captured this image of a spectacular light show at a fountain in central Wroclaw during her time as a student in the city. Wroclaw is known as Poland's "little Venice," she says, and "captures the modern, fun face" of the country.

      From stunning light shows to the natural wonders of the country, take a look at your best shots from Poland.
    • Once just a cassock, a cross and a chalice was all that was needed to equip a church, now the world of liturgical accessories is a big business.
    • Poland may be sitting on a vast, but controversial, natural resource that could make it energy independent.
    • A small Polish wild horse that was used in Nazi experiments has become the center of wetland regeneration efforts across Europe.
    • How many bison roam free in Poland and what percentage of the population are Catholic? All will be revealed.
    • To create the future of Polish cuisine, chef Wojciech Amaro looked to the 16th century for inspiration.
    • From castles and primeval forest to medieval cathedrals get a pictorial history of the country.