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Polish media downplay Warsaw football violence

Polish media downplay Warsaw football violence
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Polish media on Wednesday downplayed the evening of violence that marred Poland’s 1-1 draw in their Euro 2012 match against Russia.

While the front pages hailed the team’s sporting achievements, those on the streets of Warsaw said they were unhappy about the violent clashes between both sets of supporters.

“They were not fans, they were hooligans,” said one man. “It will take a long time to eliminate this behaviour. Maybe we will never get rid of it.”

A female football fan said: “This is not good. The match was a success, but the fights were not needed. They spoilt everything.”

At least 183 people were arrested after the street battles.

Polish Interior Minister Jacek Cichocki promised that known troublemakers would be punished severely.

“ The police investigation is underway and we are fast tracking procedures, especially in the case of foreigners,” he told reporters.
“Within the next two days, by Friday the latest, the football violence thugs, especially Russians, will be sentenced. Those sentenced will be extradited from Poland.”

The government has rejected claims that the police were too slow to react.

Officials had expected some trouble given the bitter rivalry between the two countries.

The head of Russia’s football federation has stirred tensions further, by putting the blame squarely on the Polish fans.