Fans protest at Warsaw Euro 2012 stadium

11 February 2012 09:16

Three thousand supporters of Legia Warsaw staged an angry protest on Saturday after a match scheduled to be the first at the city's Euro 2012 stadium was cancelled on security grounds.

The 450-million-euro arena, which holds 58,000 people, was due to host Legia's Super Cup tie against Wisla Krakow, but was called off on Wednesday.

Legia fans had their protest closely monitored by around a large police presence, according to an AFP photographer.

Fans hoping to see a game at the stadium -- venue for the first match of Euro 2012 in June -- will have to wait until a friendly between Poland and Portugal on February 29.

Speculation had raged for days about the chances of the Super Cup going ahead in the brand-new stadium in the heart of the capital Warsaw.

But despite the dissipation of concerns over the pitch, and a police decision to drop objections over the lack of barriers to separate rival supporters, they still underlined potential logistical hurdles to security.

With hooliganism a top concern as Poland gears up to host the European championships along with neighbouring Ukraine, the authorities are edgy about matches pitting big names like 2011 league winners Wisla and Cup holders Legia.

The decision to cancel the match is the latest chapter in a long-running saga concerning the stadium.

It was due to be inaugurated last July, but that was put off after construction headaches, and organisers of its January 29 rock concert opening faced last-minute nerves until safety officials gave a green light two days beforehand.

On June 8, the Warsaw stadium will host the Euro 2012 opening ceremony and the tournament's first match, Poland against Greece.

Source: AFP