Football: Poland's Legia fans banned over hooliganism
(WARSAW) - Fans of Polish league leaders Legia Warsaw have been banned from the club's next three away games following trouble at a match last week against bitter rivals Wisla Krakow.
The governing body of Poland's top-flight Ekstraklasa said it had imposed the penalty after Legia supporters set off fireworks, threw objects at Wisla fans, smashed seats and toilets and hurled abuse.
It also fined Legia 20,000 zloty (4,800 euros, $6,350).
Games between clubs from Warsaw and Krakow have an extra edge because of a longstanding historical rivalry between the capital and the southern city.
The bad-tempered March 30 match - which ended 0-0, thereby narrowing Legia's league lead on Ruch Chorzow to a single point with six games left in the season - was marked by a hail of yellow cards, and two reds for the visitors.
Referee Daniel Stefanski ordered Legia manager Maciej Skorza off the bench in the 80th minute, after defender Artur Jedrzejczyk picked up his second yellow and was sent off.
As a result, the Ekstraklasa's disciplinary body banned Skorza for two games.
Wisla were hit with a fine of 10,000 zloty because its fans also set off fireworks, and hailed objects and abuse at the Legia crowd.
Poland has been cracking down on hooliganism ahead of the European championships, which the country will host in June along with neighbouring Ukraine.
Long accused of failing to do enough to tackle a hardcore estimated by police at up to 5,000 in this nation of 38 million, Polish authorities were stung into action after last May's violence-marred cup final between Legia and Lech Poznan.
A blanket ban on away fans was imposed for last season's remaining handful of matches from the Ekstraklasa downwards, and ad hoc sanctions have been put in place for a string of clubs this term.
The authorities have also beefed up measures such as electronic tagging and stadium bans on individual hooligans, and identity cards for fans.
But the broad-brush approach has angered many ordinary supporters who say they are being unfairly targeted as a group because of political grandstanding.
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