Uefa condemn violence between Russia and Poland fans at Euro 2012

 

UEFA today 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 this afternoon, European football's governing body was unavailable for comment about last night's events in Warsaw that saw 184 people arrested and, according to reports, at least 24 injured.

Trouble flared yesterday after a march by thousands of Russia supporters came under attack by masked hooligans.

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.

"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 yesterday's 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.

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.

PA

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