Just one and a half month after the rampage of the football hooligans from Crvena Zvezda Beograd in Prague, the Czech Republic is getting ready for another group of aggressive rowdies from abroad. This time it will be Polish football hooligans that will come here on Saturday to watch a World Cup qualifier between Polish and Czech football representation taking place at 8:30pm at Letná. Some 4,000 Polish fans are expected to arrive to Prague.
Police will be ready
Can a similarly hellish situation caused by the Serbs repeat? “The risk is there. The police have been getting ready for it for a long time,” Martin Synecký, expert on football violence of the police headquarters, told Hospodářské noviny. “Measures will be similar to those adopted during the match against Germany in March 2007 and they will cover the whole country. Polish police officers will be helping us too. It is probable that some of the fans will arrive without a ticket,” Synecký said.
The match has been evaluated as highly risky. Police officers should bear in mind the above-mentioned match against Germany when 100 Czechs met 100 Germans in the Prague centre. The main warning, however, is carried by the reputation that accompanies the Polish hooligans. “They belong to the most aggressive, they do not respect any law, any power. They attack policemen, stewards and ordinary people,” Synecký said.
Should the ordinary people of Prague be afraid of them? “I think, probably not. Maybe they should just avoid the more aggressive groups of the Poles,” Synecký advised. “Polish fans should meet at the Old Town square around 6pm and go to the stadium from there. Those, however, would be the ordinary fans and the ultras, not the hooligans,” Synecký said.
Tusk: Potential murderers
Polish football hooligans committed many terrible crimes both in Poland and abroad. Speaking after a Cup Warsaw derby between Legia and Polonia a year ago, when 700 people were arrested, Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said they were potential murderers and that they should be treated as such. These Polish “fans” are also criticised by the local football association.
The danger is increased also by the fact that the Poles do not forget the club antagonism even abroad. In 1993 Krakow hooligans stabbed a fan of Szczecin in Chorzow during a match against England.
Last year in Bratislava, playing against the Slovaks, Polish fans injured seven policemen. They met with the German fans last year in Austrian Klagenfurt during the European Cup and also in 2006 in German Dortmund during the World Cup. Last year a group of fans of Polonia Bytom killed a fan of Ruch Radzionków that they recognised on the street outside any football match. One fan was stabbed after the Krakow derby between Wisla and Cracovia in 2006.
Polish hooligans have been seen in the Czech Republic too. Some fans of Czech football clubs closed alliances with the Polish fans. Connection between Baník Ostrava and GKS Katowice or Slavie Praha and Górnik Zabrze are well known. And in autimn 2007, Katowice hooligans raged during the match between Ostrava and Sparta.
Slovakia – Poland
15 October 2008. World Cup qualifier in Bratislava.
Shortly before the match, the Polish fans attacked the policemen after they discovered some unknown people in Polish sector threw a backpack over the fence and asked the Polish to return it. The result was seven injured police officers and 16 arrested Poles.
Germany – Poland
14 June 2006. World Cup match in Dortmund.
Some 60 Polish fans evaluated as risky by the German police were arrested during the day before the match as a preventative measure. Police reported some were armed. Dozens of German fans were also arrested. Despite these measures some Polish and German fans met in a fight wounding a Reuters cameraman.
Poland – England
May 1993. Match took place in Polish Chorzow.
Polish fans began fighting over club allegiance before the match. Young Szczecin fan was killed by fans of Krakow Cracovia.