Recent Lower Silesian derby saw two fan choreographies at Stadion Wrocław and one very unfortunate incident. Zagłębie Lubin supporter was set on fire by a security guard.
Saturday’s Derby of Lower Silesia in Poland made headlines for two reasons. First, the impressive presentation by Śląsk Wrocław supporters. But then on Sunday news of a small incident in the away section was released.
We covered it in our Polish version, but felt we also need to give a translation because various English-speaking media tell the story with incorrect information.
It's a short one: during the opening choreography supporters of Zaglębie Lubin were entering their enclosure with flags and pyrotechnic materials in hands, creating what is most commonly known as ‘chaos’, type of visual display fans usually create in Polish stadiums.
During this presentation one masked supporter climbs the section’s 3-meter fence to make his flare more visible. While climbing he gets pepper-sprayed by regular stewards, who think he wants to jump over and invade home supporters. But as he stands atop and lights his flare, they back off, while a row of riot squad security officers enter to block possible invasion attempts.
The man stands on the fence for a minute, after which one of the security officers approaches him with his mace and sprays him with liquid gas. The supporter gets hit with a large flame and thankfully leaves the fence without falling down.
This can be seen in the below video (1:40, bottom left corner) and the moment was also greatly captured by one of on-site photographers. His photo can be found below.
The fan’s clothes only caught flames for a split second and he had his face completely covered, so unofficial sources say he’s ok, without major burns. Unofficial, because he wouldn’t go to the rescue services. In light of Polish legislation, he committed three crimes, for which he might even be imprisoned. Climbing the fence, lighting flare and covering his face are all criminal offences.
Similarly, the security guard employed by Impel has not yet been identified, even though the same legislation makes identification of each security employee mandatory. Lack of ID information on the uniform is a breach of the law just like lighting a flare, but this rule is not followed at all.
Some English media claim the security guard was trying to extinguish the flare, but this was not the case. Despite fire extinguishers available in every section of the stadium, he intentionally sprayed the fan with extremely flammable mace in order to make him get off the fence.
Anonymous employee present on site claims the security guard didn’t set the fan on fire by his own will (the man had clearly no intention of leaving his enclosure), he was supposedly ordered to ‘knock him down’ with his mace by the game’s security coordinator. This last information is still unconfirmed.
Press spokesman of Śląsk Wrocław had this to say about Saturday’s incident: “The security officer’s action was proper in the sense that he wanted to stop a breach of the law. However, he used improper means to do it, he should have taken the fire extinguisher”, says Michał Mazur.