It has only taken a couple of months since the surprise Euro 2012 hosting decision for one of the co-hosts to suffer a major embarrassment.
The fact that the rioting took place during the Inter-Toto Cup – a truly pointless and largely ignored competition – is perhaps some small consolation for European football administrators.
UEFA have reacted with appropriate firmness, but concerns about the hooligan element in Poland surely remain. Frankly, Legia Warsaw fans have been notorious for such behaviour in the past (on a personal note, I might add that during my ESL teaching days, one of my students was a fanatical Legia fan; his views on politics and race relations might be described, with little exaggeration, as neanderthal).
An article published prior to last year’s World Cup gave a bleak outline of the hooligan problems in Poland. Sure enough, there were scuffles between Polish and German fans at the tournament itself (although, in fairness, the blame seemed to lie more on the German side on that occasion).
UEFA may yet live to regret its brave decision on Euro 2012.
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