Gdansk friendly key test for Euro 2012 organisers

04 September 2011 06:30

The friendly between Germany and Euro 2012 co-hosts Poland on Tuesday will be a key test of preparations for next June's European Championships, the head of Poland's organising committee has said.

With Euro 2012 to be co-hosted by Poland and the Ukraine, the tournament starts on June 8 and will climax with the final on July 1 in Kiev.

Poland host Germany in Gdansk on Tuesday and Marcin Herra, who heads the Polish organising commitee, said the friendly international will give a clear idea of how ready his country is to host the tournament.

"We will take all the standards as a benchmark and then see where we stand," he told SID.

"I think the stadium will be sold out with over 40,000 spectators, including 1,000 German fans.

"For us, it is a good opportunity to see whether things all go well at the airport and on the roads.

"And we are delighted to be testing all things against such an opponent."

After rival fans clashed during this year's Polish Cup final, hooliganism remains a concern ahead of next year's tournaments and the Polish parliament has voted to bring in new legislation with Euro 2012 in mind.

Proposals include bans on alcohol at the stadiums and electronic monitoring of known hooligans.

"This is part of the new legislation," said Herra, who admits the Euro 2012 organisers face many challenges.

"Even if someone is banned from a game, we can still monitor him using technology."

With Germany having hosted both the men's World Cup in 2006 and the women's tournament this summer, Polish organisers have been taking notes.

"My colleagues were at the women's World Cup in Germany in order to learn from the organisers," said Herra.

"They also talked about the experience of 2006.

"I think it was a very, very good tournament.

"The Germans said then: 'Let's be open, let's be kind, let's smile'.

"That is what we want to do too."

Herra said images of rioting at football matches in Poland gives an inaccurate picture of football in his country.

"If someone only refers to 30 seconds of video footage, it can lead to a misunderstanding," he said.

"I think we have problems in a few regions in our country, but the true Polish football fans are peaceful.

"The country has undergone dramatic changes in the past 20 years. It pays to come to us."

The Germany-Poland game had initially been planned to be staged at the new stadium in Warsaw, specially built for Euro 2012, but building delays have seen the match switched to Gdansk on the north Polish coast.

"It's just a great stadium, but we are on track," said Herra, with work scheduled to be completed in Warsaw this November.

"We are taking care of everything necessary to create a peaceful and friendly atmosphere."

Source: AFP