Livin’ La Vida Loca: Polish Pyro & Protest

Poland is preparing to host (half of) Euro 2012, and campaigns by the Polish FA and government to crack down on ultras groups at clubs across the country are producing a visceral backlash.

We’ve covered Polish fans’ protests before here, but events have taken a further turn with the recent news that new legislation this summer means ultras caught lighting pyrotechnics inside a football stadium will face up to five years in prison.

How have Polish ultras groups responded?

Lech Poznań-Lechia Gdańsk, May 2009

Emphatic enough. And then there was:

Rough translation: It's better to steal than to do choreos. The judge will be more lenient

Rough translation: "It's better to steal than to do choreos. The judge will be more lenient." This display, from Wisla Kraków vs. KS Górnik Zabrze in April, shows a thief, a judge and a fan lighting flare.

Ultras culture in Poland, embedded in football and inextricable from questions of class, race and politics, is worthy of a dissertation in itself, so a brief blog post can hardly get to the bottom of this.  But it’s pretty clear the battle between the authorities and supproters will only escalate as the spotlight on Poland intensifies ahead of Euro 2012.

One thing’s for sure: ultras culture will not die without a bang in Poland.

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