Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Euro 2012 fans might be defeaned by ‘sound cannons’

-England fans face 'sonic cannon' blasts
-Supporters' campsite is grim wasteland

Fans face a grim welcome at Euro 2012 — with innocent supporters under threat of being permanently deafened by cops wielding anti-hooligan “sonic cannons”.

The ear-splitting gizmos mounted on trucks were unveiled as police chiefs vowed zero-tolerance to thuggery when the tournament kicks off next month.
Last night there were growing fears the indiscriminate weapons — which unleash bursts of sound equivalent to a jet engine taking off — could also maim those not involved in any trouble.
The peril from COPS in England’s host city of Krakow emerged as our players, including John Terry and Wayne Rooney, also braced themselves for a hellish reception — from home-grown PolishYOBS
One faction is plotting to tear up the newly-laid training pitch with a horse and plough. Other louts have plans to tie up security guards so they can sabotage power cables to the stadium which is normally home to Polish minnows Hutnik Krakow.
A source close to the club’s hooligan hardcore said last night: “They told me they’ll rip up the new playing surface at night with a horse and a harrow.

“They’re even talking about overpowering the security guards with pepper spray and tying them up the night before England arrive. The whole area around the ground these days is basically a ghetto with lots of unemployment and lots of angry young men. It’s a very dangerous place.”
Poland is notorious for the kind of soccer hooliganism that used to plague Britain — and Krakow has long been a flashpoint for rival fans. Its nickname is “City of the Knives”.

The FA came under fire for choosing its rundown 6,500-capacity Hutnik Municipality Stadium as England’s base before the draw for the qualifying-stage games was even made.
The Three Lions ended up in the WRONG country, with all their first-round games taking place 900 miles away in the tournament’s other host nation Ukraine.
Meanwhile city officials in Krakow have had to spend a fortune sprucing up the local team’s shabby stadium to Premier League standards.
That enraged the club’s fans — whose team has been temporarily evicted, forcing it to play out its season elsewhere.
The fury intensified after Stuart Pearce — England’s interim boss until Roy Hodgson was appointed last week — was wrongly blamed for ordering the Hutnik sign to be torn down.
Pictures of the broken letters dumped on a grass verge sparked outrage — with one fan ranting on Facebook: “Now I know how the Polish people felt in 1939 when the Nazis pulled down and destroyed the Polish national emblem. I cannot wait till the f*****g English come.”
Another stormed: “This is a big provocation to all Hutnik fans.” Our source confirmed amid the growing talk of revenge: “Fans are really angry.”
The uproar showed no sign of dying down even though Krakow’s Sport Infrastructure Department last night explained neither England nor Pearce — who last week visited the ground with FA officials — was responsible for the sign’s removal.
The department’s spokesman Jerzy Sasorski said the name had to be dismantled in line with strict UEFA rules on signage in stadia.
With the powderkeg atmosphere building up in Krakow, police warned they would not hesitate to resort to their sonic cannons — officially known as Long Range Acoustic Devices.
Video of the weapon in action at a G20 demo in the US city of Pittsburgh shows protesters running for cover with their hands over their ears. The US Navy has also used the gizmos in Iraq.
Ex-Special Branch officer David McGirr, 49, said: “If there is violence and the police use this, hooligans are not going to know what has hit them. Nothing like this has ever been used in the UK.”
Kevin Miles, of the Football Supporters Federation, said: “Sadly it’s become a feature of the run-up to every major tournament that host police forces seem to have to boast about some new repressive measure at their disposal.”

ENGLAND fans would not be happy campers if they saw the official tent site earmarked for them in Ukraine — it’s a thin strip of muddy scrubland between two main roads.
Artists’ impressions of the patch — due to accommodate 3,000 supporters in Donetsk in the east of the country — show lush grass and pavilions offering fast food, plus sporting facilities including a soccer pitch and a volleyball court.

But with little more than a month before England play France at the Donbass Stadium, a half-hour’s coach drive away, the place still looks like wasteland. Views include giant slagheaps, a refinery belching fumes from colossal chimneys, a flyover and a rundown tenement estate.
One source said: “It is a triangle bordered by two busy roads — it’s more like a giant traffic island than a campsite.”
As yet it has no trees or landscaping to shield sleeping fans from the roar of traffic.
Water pipes have still to be laid and a car park for fans’ buses remains unsurfaced.
There are not even any shops near the out-of-town site.
The source said: “We’re not quite sure why the fans have been dumped in the middle of nowhere.

“Maybe it’s to keep them away from trouble or ensure they can be easily monitored by police.
“But no matter whether supporters think they will be staying near the city centre and the stadium, or whether they prefer a quiet campsite where they can relax, they are set to be disappointed.”
After the tournament the site — “positively assessed” by UEFA officials — will be used for a park-and-ride scheme. Fans will be hoping they are not taken for a ride first.

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