UEFA slam Warsaw violence that marred Euro 2012… but won't promise to take action
14:19 GMT, 13 June 2012
UEFA have condemned the violence that marred Poland's European Championship match with Russia, but it was unclear whether either team would face any sanctions.
Beyond issuing their own statement, European football's governing body was unavailable for comment about Tuesday night's events in Warsaw that saw 184 people arrested and, according to reports, at least 24 injured.
Trouble flared after a march by thousands of Russia supporters came under attack by masked hooligans.
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Scuffle: Polish fans clash with their Russian counterparts outside the National Stadium
On the charge: Polish police forces sprint into action
Visiting fans inside the stadium also unfurled a giant banner that read, 'This is Russia', something that could be seen as a taunt about the decades of Moscow control over Poland during the Cold War.
UEFA said in a statement: 'UEFA condemns the isolated incidents that occurred yesterday in Warsaw prior to and after the Poland-Russia match, when some groups of known troublemakers pelted the police with missiles and attacked fans irrespective of the team they were supporting.
'Those arrested and charged will have to be dealt with by the relevant authorities.
'UEFA's philosophy is to create a welcoming environment coupled with a low-profile approach to policing. The focus should be on facilitating the enjoyment of the matches by genuine football fans and isolating the tiny percentage of troublemakers.
'UEFA is in a constant dialogue with the public authorities in order to achieve this aim.
This is going to hurt: A fan gets ready to feel the force of the Policja
'UEFA is determined that the overwhelmingly peaceful and festive atmosphere that has so far pervaded at UEFA Euro 2012 will be continued right up to and including the final in Kiev on Sunday 1 July.'
Polish authorities earlier apologised for the bloody clashes on what was 'Russia Day' and urged severe sanctions for those proven to be involved.
Among those arrested by the 6,400 police on the streets following reinforcements from other cities were 157 Poles and 24 Russians.
'When it comes to our hooligans, I hope the prosecutors and especially the courts will be strict,' interior minister Jacek Cichocki told a news conference, sentiments echoed by prime minister Donald Tusk.
Cichocki said the detained Russians would likely be expelled from Poland and banned from Europe's border-free Schengen area for five years.
On the march: Approximately 5,000 Russia fans make their way to Warsaw's National Stadium
Poland's sports minister Joanna Mucha said the 'shocking' violence had left her feeling 'ashamed'.
The skirmishes saw riot squad officers use water cannon and fire tear gas and rubber bullets to disperse marauding fans. Ten police officers were treated for injuries.
UEFA, meanwhile, must decide whether the 'This is Russia' banner represents an extremist symbol.
If so, the Russian Football Union can expect further disciplinary action after a case was opened against them following their opening Group A game against Czech Republic.
Riot police fired plastic bullets and tear gas to quell violent scenes as the Euro 2012 venue became a battleground for football hooligans.
Parts of Warsaw were turned into a bloodbath as Polish and Russian fans clashed ahead of their 1-1 draw in Group A.
Police in Warsaw have made over 183 arrests relating to clashes between Poland and Russia fans and expect to add to that number as investigations continue.
The hooligans are back and this is the face of the tournament now, in a frightening and hostile city.
The battles took place close to the Fan Zones where, earlier in the day,
the party people of Poland and Russia mixed freely as they drank beer,
banged drums and watched Greece take on the Czech Republic before the
main event in Group A.
There was blood on the pavement, supporters were lying injured but still
the fans carried on fighting with each other and the police, who came
under fire from a barrage of bottles and bricks.
Street violence: A Russian and Polish fan hit each other during the violence
In full force: Russian fans are escorted by Polish riot police in Warsaw
Running riot: Unruly Polish fans carry road blockades as they clash with police in Warsaw
Poland versus Russia was always going to be a volatile fixture given the history between the two countries.
Prior to the match, which ended 1-1
at the National Stadium, thousands of Russian fans marched on the
capital's Poniatowski Bridge to mark Russia Day, considered a
provocative gesture by some Poles whose nation was subjected to decades
of rule by Moscow during the Cold War.
Flashpoints occurred there, as well
as at the designated Fanzone in Plac Defilad Square, with reports of
lesser disturbances during the match.
Police are understood to have deployed water canon and rubber bullets as part of their response.
Clash: Polish and Russian fans kick each other
Taking action: Police try and re-gain control as violence breaks out
Taking charge: Police arrest fans in Warsaw prior to the Euro 2012
Street fighting: Fans clash on Russia Day
All out attack: Fans attack in Warsaw
Apprehended: But were restrained by police soon afterwards
All out war: Polish and Russian fans clash in the streets
Led away: Polish riot police detain a fan
A statement, released via
www.policja.pl, read: 'There are more than 183 hooligans caught by the
police because of disorders in Warsaw – firstly during the march to
National Stadion, secondly in the Fanzone in Plac Defilad Square.
'Among the kept persons there are fans of both teams – Russian and Polish.
'There are 10 persons, who are
injured: 7 Polish, 2 Russians and 1 German – their lives are not in
danger concerning the information from the medical services.
'The police operation is still
lasting. The police officers are checking the surveillance system,
police cameras and still (plan to) identify the hooligans who took part
in the disorders. Further arrests are planned.'
The number of related injuries is reported to have subsequently risen to 15.
Battle scar: A Pioland fan shows off a rubber bullet wound
A Warsaw police spokesperson also
said: 'We are still monitoring the situation and trying to identify the
supporters involved. The operation is not over from our side as we
continue in our attempts to catch those who are causing trouble.'
Trouble flared despite an
unprecedented security operation in the Polish capital, where
authorities had been extensively trained in anti-riot operations prior
to the tournament.
Tuesday's violence is is the latest
blight on the competition, which is being co-hosted by Ukraine, with
UEFA already indicating they will launch investigations into allegations
of racist chanting in games involving Spain and Italy, and Russia and
the Czech Republic.
Prior to the tournament, some Dutch
squad members complained of hearing racist abuse during a training
session at Wisla Krakow's stadium.
Prepared: Polish police were ready for a large number of Russia fans marching through Warsaw
Peaceful: Russian supporters wave the flag of the former Soviet Union prior to the Group A game with Poland
Sadly, there is a sinister tone to
the tournament now, something that drove people off the streets when
they should have been celebrating this enormous fan gathering.
Instead, they were running for their
lives and cowering in shop doorways as police armed with batons and riot
shields attempted to restore order.
It was shameful and shocking, wiping the smile off the face of European football.