Euro 2012 Violence Could Change Soccer
Euro 2012 Violence Could Change Soccer, Fans of Poland and Russia clash in the game’s worst disturbance in decades, says a writer.The most widespread case of soccer hooliganism for more than two decades erupted between fans of Poland and Russia on Tuesday, and the incident has prompted the sport’s two biggest governing bodies to order an investigation that may change the way major tournaments are organized.
In the hours leading up to a 1-1 draw between the two teams in Group A of Euro 2012, hundreds of fans fought bloody battles with fists, bottles and metal weapons on the streets of the Polish capital Warsaw, as riot police firing rubber bullets and releasing tear gas tried to keep them apart.
A series of factors combined to make this the highest-risk match of the championships in terms of fan violence, as highlighted by Yahoo! Sports on Monday, and unfortunately violence transpired. Although officials claimed only 10 people had been seriously injured, onlookers estimated that figure to be much lower than they observed.
The disgraceful scenes, the likes of which soccer hoped were a thing of the past, will prompt an immediate response from both UEFA (the European governing body that is organizing the tournament) and FIFA (the international overseer of all things soccer).
A wide-ranging investigation into Tuesday’s events has already begun, in conjunction with Polish police, anti-hooliganism agencies from both nations and Euro 2012 security bosses. Once the tournament is over, the same group of FIFA and UEFA officials will consider ways to avoid a repeat of clashes that overshadowed the on-field action on day five of the tournament.
A FIFA source told Yahoo! Sports that one proposal certain to gain support is for the organizing committee for the World Cups and European Championship to have leeway to alter the scheduling and location of certain matches in order to make outbreaks of hooliganism less likely.
The fact that the Poland vs. Russia game took place on Russia’s national independence day has been cited as a major cause of Tuesday’s problems because fans celebrated the occasion with a march across an iconic Warsaw bridge toward the stadium. (AP)
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