During last meeting of all 16 Ekstraklasa clubs on Monday, officials decided to support safe standing and legal pyrotechnics inside Polish stadiums. This unexpected step comes in response to police offensive after Euro 2012.
Representatives of all 16 top tier sides in Polish Ekstraklasa gathered on Monday to discuss safety inside domestic stadia. The issue became more of a problem than before with police coming down on supporters for nearly any misdemeanor and filing applications for stands or even stadiums to be closed.
We previously wrote about some most radical steps taken by the police, which include calling streamers a safety threat and treating standing in stairways as a fundamental issue. This raises concerns among clubs who feel new sanctions won’t hit hooligans, but regular, passionate supporters.
Thus, after the Monday meeting Ekstraklasa asks for more liberal rules that would not challenge safety of Polish stadiums.
We would wish for Poland to adopt regulations like those in Germany. Up to 20% of Bundesliga stadiums capacity is safe standing, which basically means folding seats with rails that may easily be converted to seating. This solution, existing in Dortmund or Munich for example, answers expectations of supporters, says Marcin Animucki, board member of Ekstraklasa SA.
Worth mentioning, safe standing isn’t just a German practice, with Austria, Switzerland, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, France, Japan or USA being further examples. Since this year also Scottish football authorities allow terracing back inside their grounds.
As fines for lighting flares are seen as disproportionate and not addressing the issue of hooliganism, Ekstraklasa sides suggest seeking a solution to the issue that would include both spectator safety and fans’ will to create proper football atmosphere.
Current bill on mass event safety treats pyrotechnics very severely. Clubs are signaling that reconsideration of this law would be welcome, for example to allow organizer to use specific pyrotechnics via trained personnel. Of course, only with approval from all bodies that overlook match organization.
We would wish for law to support football clubs in fight against hooliganism, but at the same time make life easier for clubs and those fans, whose actions aren’t aimed at breaking rules, but at supporting their players. We’re aware that it’s a complicated issue, but hope to find a solution that will satisfy all parties, Animucki concludes.
During the meeting it was also decided that all participating clubs will apply one set of stadium regulations which is now being prepared by working groups. It may be implemented as soon as January 1st 2013.