'Fan violence potential problem for Euro'
Fan violence could be a potential problem during the Euro 2012 football championships in Ukraine unless law enforcement in the former Soviet republic improves, a senior Ukrainian sports official said on Tuesday.
"People (violent fans) need to know, that they will answer for their acts, including going to jail," said Hryrhory Surkis, head of the Football Federation of Ukraine.
Surkis' spoke at a Kiev press conference reported by the authoritative Dynamoania website.
Football-related violence has spiked in Ukraine in recent weeks, with hometown fans in west Ukrainian city Lviv brawling with Borussia Dortmund fans after a Europa League match, and irate locals pelting a Donetsk Shakhar team bus rocks and bricks after a Ukraine league match in the eastern city Kharkiv.
Police were slow to respond in both incidents, according to news reports.
"We are taking steps so that parliament passes the necessary laws," Surkis said, responding to a reporter questioning whether Ukraine was capable of offering safe football viewing to international fans and sides during Euro 2012, when Ukrainian law enforcers have difficulty protecting domestic fans and players.
The Uefa executive committee Monday rubber-stamped the match schedule for Euro 2012, which is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine. Four cities in each country will be the main game venues for a total 32 teams participating in the tournament.
Media and opposition politicians in both countries have accused their governments of inefficient preparation efforts, with Polish criticism focusing on slow stadium construction and limited footballing infrastructure, and Ukrainian complaints centring on hotel shortages and shoddy roads.
Surkis declined to say whether Ukraine or Poland was ahead in its preparation effort, saying "It isn't a competition (between Ukraine or Poland). It is a joint effort, and we are interested in each other's success."
"True, some Polish political figures have made some provocative statements, but Polish Prime Minister (Donald Tusk) set those people straight," Surkis said.
Ukraine overall is on track to host its share of Euro 2012, and will be able to offer visiting teams at least 16 Uefa-standard training bases, he said.