Thursday, 24. July 2014 - 18:07
30. 05. 12. - 13:00
Armed SWAT police have arrested more than 40 violent soccer thugs in Poland ahead of next week's Euro 2012 tournament - including the leader of one of the most racist gangs in the country.
Tournament officials were shamed by an expose of racist thugs planning to attack black and Asian fans at the event.
Former England footballer Sol Campbell had warned fans to stay away from the championship because they "could end up coming back in a coffin."
But this morning (Tuesday) Polish police arrested 42 suspected thugs in a series of dawn raids.
The head of a racist gang linked to the Leiga Warsaw club was one of those seized during the raids in Warsaw, Elblag, Ketrzyn, and Szczecin.
Many are also suspected of being involved in drug trafficking and extortion.
Earlier this month, police arrested 35 hooligans connected to clubs from Szczecin and Gliwice suspected of involvement in "ustawki" - pre-arranged fights between rival teams' fans which have claimed several lives in Poland over the past few years.
This morning (Tuesday) Polish officials hit back at the BBC documentary claiming that the country is "cool and tolerant."
But A UEFA-backed report carried out in April this year showed there were 133 cases of football related racist abuse in Poland.
Twenty of the incidents were recorded against black players over an 18 month period.
"Racism is a deeply rooted part of football culture in Eastern Europe," said Rafal Pankowski, one of the report’s authors and head of the Never Again anti-racist organisation in Poland.
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