Tensions are high in the build-up to the second game of Euro 2012’s Group A between Russia and co-hosts Poland on Tuesday.
A planned march by five thousand Russian supporters through the city centre of Warsaw has been seen by some as a potential catalyst for violence.
UEFA tournament director for Poland Adam Olkowicz has been keen to stress any political connotations of the march should remain separate from football.
Poland and Russia have a history of chequered political relations, but Euro 2012 organisers want to make sure the tournament’s focus remains firmly on the pitch.
“This match will be a challenge, but do not interpret the march as a major problem,” Olkowicz said.
“We need to be prepared. We have had a meeting with our security forces and we are making arrangements to try to avert trouble.
“Several thousand Russian football fans will march from the right to the left side of the river Vistula. It will be an organised group, but it’s not an official group and really it is outside the role of football.
“Everything is going precisely to plan but there have been some incidents, most importantly the incident at the match at Wroclaw.
“One of the Russian supporters threw a flare onto the pitch which is absolutely prohibited of course. The stewards approached him and wanted to take him out of the stadium, there was a fight, and four stewards went to hospital but they were released on the same day. UEFA are investigating and have already spoken to the Russian federation.”
Russia defeated the Czech Republic 4-1 in their Group A opener on Friday, while Poland were held to a 1-1 draw by Greece.
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