Russia fans attack Euro stewards

Published Jun 09, 2012 03:12pm

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UEFA released a statement Saturday calling it “a brief and isolated incident involving a small group of around 30 fans who attacked a handful of stewards. -Photo by AP

WARSAW: Four stewards at the European Championship were hospitalized after being attacked by Russia fans at Wroclaw Municipal Stadium. Russia fans were also involved in a brawl with Ukrainian supporters near Lviv's fan zone.

The Wroclaw incident occurred after Russia beat Czech Republic 4-1, with online footage showing fans punching the stewards in a stadium concourse area. One steward was kicked while he was on the ground before the fans walked away.

The stewards weren't badly injured, police spokesman Pawel Petrykowski said. The beatings lasted for a “few dynamic minutes,” but all in all it was a “small incident,” he said. No arrests were made, but police were examining security camera footage.

UEFA released a statement Saturday calling it “a brief and isolated incident involving a small group of around 30 fans who attacked a handful of stewards. The situation was quickly and efficiently brought under control. The local police are aware of the incident and investigating.”

A witness who took video footage said the Russia fans became aggressive when stewards tried to identify one who had thrown firecrackers toward the pitch.

In Lviv, a fight broke out between about 10 supporters of Russia and Ukraine outside the football fan zone after Russia beat Czech Republic 4-1, police spokeswoman Svitlana Dobrovolska said.

About six Russia fans waving the black, yellow and white flag of the Russian empire and four supporters of the Ukrainian team dressed in the national colors of blue and yellow grappled and punched each before police intervened to stop the fight. The fans were separated, told to behave and released, Dobrovolska said.

“It was nothing serious,” she said.

Tensions are high between the two ex-Soviet neighbors as Ukraine seeks to move out of the shadow of its former imperial master and forge closer times with the European Union.

Disagreements range from different views on the two countries' shared history, the price of Russian gas imports, the use of the Russian language in Ukraine and even a recent quarrel over Ukrainian cheese imports to Russia.

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