Polish Hooligans

Football violence exploded in Poland in the 1990's. The collapse of communism brought a failing economy and rising unemployment which made young men angry as they became disillusioned with life. This situation created an increase in the size of hooligan firms. Young men were looking to release there anger.

Polish riot police struggle to hold back Polish football hooligans

Wisla Krakow - Wisla Sharks

Poland to this day still has many problems with hooligans. The Polish government and F.A. have looked to England for the way they dealt with football hooliganism in the 1980's. One of the largest and most ruthless firms is Wisla Krakow's, Wisla Sharks. They have a reputation for using weapons such as knives and bats. In 1998 a knife was thrown by a Wisla fan from the stands during a Uefa cup match between Wisla and Parma. The knife hit Italian international Dino Baggio who required 5 stitches to a head wound.

Cracovia - Anty Wisla

Krakow is home to two football teams that are seperated by a small park and lie just 500 metres away from each other. The derby match between Wisla Krakow and there less successful neighbours Cracovia is the longest running in Poland, over 100 years old. Cracovia's firm is called Anty Wisla, such is there hatred of there local rivals. While most hooligans in Poland are against the use of weapons, Krakow is called the City of knives as the two local firms will stop at nothing to fight for the respect of there teams.

Derby Match

At the 100th anniversary of the derby between Wisla Krakow and Cracovia, the Wisla Sharks lined up hundreds of Cracovia scarfs that they had stolen off them during battles through the season and set fire to them inside the ground. There aim was to anger the Cracovia fans and let them know how many times they had been ambushed throughout the season.

Polish Ultras making a display

In Warsaw however there is different vibe to hooliganism. There is a no weapons pact. Firms from this part of Poland have signed up to the fair fight agreement and take part in pre arragned fights in the forest. The numbers each firm will bring is arranged in advance and fighting takes place away from the public eye.

Further viewing:

The Real Football Factories - Poland
Documentary examining hooliganism in Poland.

Wisla Krakow Vs MKS Cracovia: The Holy War - bleachreport.com
Good article on the history of the krakow derby