It seems that pressure of football governing bodies and supporter groups is paying off – amendment to safety regulations inside Polish stadia should be ready by the end of February. Changes may include legal pyrotechnics and safe standing.
Polish supporters aren't celebrating yet, but it seems progress in setting up more liberal stadium safety regulations hasn't been this big ever before. Today members of all football governing bodies, police, Warsaw authorities and MPs met in Polish parliament (Sejm) to discuss possible changes to the existing legislation.
Current 'Mass Event Safety Act' has been introduced in 2009 and since had several amendments, becoming one of the most restrictive worldwide. Stricter law was supposed to prevent violent incidents during Euro 2012 that went rather peacefully, though not without trouble at all.
But in league reality the law has been causing havoc among clubs and supporters. Constantly increasing number of stadium bans aren't only issued for violence or aggressive behaviour, but also for issues like standing on stairs rather than in rows or for using a curse word in public.
Step by step, last year police has effectively banned all big flags (or flags at all) from a number of stadiums, including those most important – in Warsaw or Krakow. As a result protests have sparked in several cities country-wide and for the first time in years, average attendance has dropped for many clubs.
This is why today issues of liberalisation were given priority over potential increase in penalties. Interestingly, not only supporters and Polish FA (PZPN) and top league (Ekstraklasa) expressed their support for safe standing and legal pyrotechnics. The police declined to stand against these measures, leaving decision to fire department experts.
Ireneusz Raś, head of Sports Comission of the Parliament, assured the issues raised will be given thorough consultation until February 15 and by the end of February project of amendment to the legislation should be ready and submitted.