Multithumb found errors on this page:

There was a problem loading image 'images/stories/lechia gdansk5.jpg'
There was a problem loading image 'images/stories/lechia gdansk5.jpg'

Fan protest by Lwy Polnocy Lechia GdanskThe indefinite closure of five premier league stadia and away travel bans for fans across entire leagues: these are part of a package of repressive measures taken by the Polish government last week after increasing public pressure from across Europe in view of the approaching EURO 2012.

Their main aim is to fight the ongoing violence in Polish football, with the immediate trigger being the violent incidents at the recent cup final between Legia Warsaw and Lech Poznan which received media attention in the whole of Europe. FSE says: these measures are doomed to failure.

 

As the representative European network of football supporters with members in 36 countries, FSE hereby clearly and unambiguously reaffirm our rejection of any form of violence and discrimination. We support every reasonable and diverse approach that can lead to a sustainable prevention of existing problems in football in Europe. Precisely for this reason, we are very concerned about the latest reaction of the government to the violent incidents in football in Poland.

All fans, including those who are peaceful and aware of their responsibilities, from divisions one to five are now expected to carry the can for the wrongdoings of a minority, and for the longstanding neglect of existing problems with violence and discrimination in Polish football. Numerous international examples from recent years have shown, however, that such a short-term strategy of collective punishment of entire sets of fans does not lead to the isolation of the minority of wrongdoers; rather, it can result in a feeling of solidarity with that minority by large sections of the fan base. Hooligan groups - or even political parties, often of the far right - are often the first people who try to take advantage of these situations for their own purposes, to win support among fans.

This is why we urgently call for the institutions in Poland to reconsider their latest approach. We would much prefer to see a willingness on the part of those in authority to enter into a constructive and focused dialogue about the most recent incidents with all interested parties, INCLUDING the fans, and to work together on a joint, long-term solution for the benefit of a peaceful EURO2012 and beyond.

In the course of preparations for EURO2012, there have already been a number of exemplary and promising steps taken in this direction, with the foundation of the first preventive fans‘ projects and the involvement of the fans in the tournament planning, e.g. with Lechia Gdansk, Slask Wroclaw and at Polonia Warsaw. As a consequence, an increasing number of Polish supporters have openly expressed their willingness to take on more responsibility over the past year. They have taken part in social initiatives and activities to prevent violence and discrimination, and have even initiated such activities themselves. The short-term measures of repressive intervention impact negatively against the commitment of these fans, and are therefore counter-productive and could fatally undermine these positive developments.

Experience elsewhere in Europe, particularly in England and Germany, has demonstrated that a lasting and stable improvement in the situation regarding violence in football can only be achieved with the support and participation of fans, not merely by the imposition of measures against them.

Consequently, there remains an onus on Polish fans to react appropriately. FSE therefore is calling not only upon the Polish institutions, but also upon all Polish fans not to let themselves be led into destructive behaviour by their anger and frustration about these disproportionate collective measures of punishment, or to let themselves be misused by party-political interests and short-term promises in the upcoming elections, however difficult that may seem.

On the contrary, it is important, especially now, to continue to stand up for the self-critical and self-regulating prevention of violence and discrimination amongst the fans everywhere where this has already started, and to kick-off such processes where they have not yet been established. AT THE SAME TIME, the fans should express – peacefully - their opposition to the governmental measures taken. These forms of engagement and creative means of protest should then demonstrate to the world that the majority of Polish fans are part of the solution, not the problem, and that they can be the heart and soul of an attractive Polish football scene and a festive EURO 2012 tournament.

Contact

Football Supporters Europe eV

Koordinationsbüro

Postfach 30 62 18
20328 Hamburg
Germany

Tel.: +49 40 370 877 51
Fax: +49 40 370 877 50
Email: info@fanseurope.org

Imprint