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Polish football fans storm pitch in Lithuania


Vilnius/Warsaw : The Lithuanian and Polish football communities were in shock Monday after Polish fans stormed the pitch during a UEFA Intertoto Cup match in Vilnius.

"It was terrible: The Polish hooligans wanted to destroy everything," Valdemaras Kundrotas of the Lithuanian Football Federation told DPA after the Sunday incident.

"I've never seen a scandal like it. We'll make sure that none of the bandits whom we identify will ever set foot in a stadium again," added Leszek Miklas, president of Polish club Legia Warsaw.

The trouble happened in the first leg of the second-round tie between Legia and home side Vetra Vilnius. At half-time, with Vetra leading 2-0, several hundred Legia fans stormed the pitch.

"There were hundreds of them, maybe 2,500. The police fought them with rubber bullets and tear gas," Kundrotas said.

"I'm shocked that people from a civilized country could behave like this. They're savages who can't live in a normal society – they have nothing in common with real fans," Miklas added.

In the wake of the game, which was abandoned after the trouble, some observers criticized the hosts for failing to provide adequate security and, reportedly, allowing openly drunken fans into the stadium.

"Nobody in Poland would ever have allowed a match to take place with such weak security preparations," Legia coach Jan Urban told Poland's Rzeczpospolita newspaper.

"You can see on the videos that there was lots of security, and police in full equipment. The police were too humane to start with – they didn't want to provoke the fans," Kundrotas countered.

One policeman and five fans were hurt during the disturbances, initial reports said. UEFA is expected to rule on the incident in the coming days.