Football : affrontements à Prague – 29 mai 2011
Soccer hooligans ignite riots
June 1, 2011
Third incident in a month prompts calls for tougher laws
By František Bouc
Two hundred police, some on horseback, others with dogs and still more in helicopters, were deployed near Česká Třebová May 29 to intervene in rioting and running street battles between rival soccer hooligans supporting Sparta Praha and Baník Ostrava.
About 300 rowdies made a secret agreement to stage the battle in the city, which is roughly midway between Prague and Ostrava. The hooligans traveled to the site – where no match was being played – by bus and car.
The helicopter presence helped stop the rioting, said Pardubice police spokesman Jozef Bocán, but the events in Česká Třebová were just the most recent case of violence initiated by soccer hooligans. Both the police and soccer officials say such groups are getting more radical, and officials are calling for tougher legislation that would allow for increased penalties to be levied against the delinquents.
"It’s high time we began considering new actions against hooliganism. The issue is becoming a serious problem here and also in the neighboring countries," said Czech Football Association (ČMFS) General Manager Ivan Hašek. "Recently, some games in Poland had to be played before empty stands, and the derby game between Vienna cross-town rivals in Austria ended prematurely after hooligans stormed the pitch during the game."
The May 29 incident was the climax of a bloody month as it spelled the third major incident in May. Angry Slavia Praha supporters who were frustrated with the club’s financial woes stormed the pitch before the Czech Cup game between Slavia and Olomouc May 5. Although Slavia players convinced fans to return to the stands, the crowd, led by hooligans, later invaded the pitch again and began vandalizing the stadium. The police ordered an end to the game and pushed the hooligans out of the stadium.
The Czech Cup final between Olomouc and Mladá Boleslav May 26 in Jihlava also ended in rioting. Following Olomouc’s loss in a penalty shoot-out, dozens of Olomouc’s supporters leapt onto the pitch and attacked Mladá Boleslav fans. After minutes of fistfights on the pitch, the police separated the two groups. Olomouc rowdies also attacked one of their own club sponsors. Read more…