By Claire Cameron
POLISH football fans run riot after Europa League match.
Tensions sparked yesterday after thousands of Polish football fans descended on Dundee city to watch Dundee United play Slask Wroclaw in the Europa League qualifier.
Tayside Police have estimated that 2000 Polish fans travelled to the city ahead of the match, but that a
“small number’ tried to cause chaos.
Despite increased police presence ahead of yesterday’s match, there were reports of drunkenness and disorder amongst some Polish fans throughout the day. Police confirmed that three Polish men were arrested on minor offenses before the kick-off.
In an attempt to curb the disorder, police escorted the Polish fans to the ground in an effort to keep them from apart from the Dundee Utd supporters. Dundee pub and off-license owners were also encouraged to close their doors to help prevent drunkenness. Once inside the ground, officers ensured a peaceful match by confining the opposing supporters to separate stands.
But though the game went off without a hitch with Dundee Utd winning 3 goals to 2, the situation worsened away from the grounds.
Chief Insp Graeme Donald of Tayside Police said:
“The game passed without incident but after the match, a small but vociferous number of Polish fans were involved in running skirmishes with the police in the areas around the ground and spreading to the city centre.
“Bottles were being thrown by some of the Polish fans and there was some damage to property but serious disorder was prevented by police officers responding quickly. “
Tayside Police have praised the home side’s supporters, saying:
“To their credit, Dundee United fans did not get involved in the trouble. “
Many of the Polish supporters have now left the city, some under police escort. Tayside Police said that the majority of Slask Wroclaw supporters had not taken part in the disorder, and that only an intoxicated few were to blame for the unrest.
Chief Inspector Suzie Mertes said:
“There were problems with small groups of Polish fans but most of them were well behaved. “
Chief Insp Donald added:
“The troublesome fans were escorted onto buses and left Dundee around midnight.
“A number of Polish fans stayed in the city overnight but their behaviour has been peaceful and no other incidents have been reported.
“As is often the case in these instances, the trouble was caused by a small number of fans fuelled by alcohol who were bent on hooliganism but these were dealt with quickly and effectively by the police and have now left the city.
“I think it is safe to say that we did prevent some significant disorder, which was a distinct possibility. “