WARSAW, Poland: The 2012 UEFA European Football Championship (Euro 2012) is only the third time the football tournament will be hosted jointly by multiple countries in the 52—year history of the event.
For Poland, who is co—hosting Euro 2012 with Ukraine, the tournament will be the country’s biggest sporting event to date, and Poland is leaving no stones unturned in its preparation efforts.
It has already invited four mass event security experts from Western Europe to share lessons and experience from past hosts and events.
The country admits that co—hosting the event with Ukraine would pose certain problems in the area of security as the join hosts do not share the same political system, with Poland being part of the European Union while Ukraine is not.
This makes hosting Euro 2012 more challenging than previous competitions, especially with hundreds of thousands of football fans expected to travel between the two countries.
Issues like contraband, unruly fans, and noisy vehicles crossing over are all problems that have to be dealt with by a common border control system that is being introduced to facilitate the movement of football spectators.
Away from the borders, security has also been beefed up at all affected locations with Poland planning to deploy some 10,000 police officers during the championships.
Authorities have also boosted the number of security cameras to secure the stadiums in the four cities.
"There will be police officers, there will be spotters and 440 cameras watching over the situation in and around the stadium," City Hall of Gdansk spokesperson Michal Brandt said.
Surveillance cameras will also be a common feature in the host cities, including the public transport system, with Warsaw alone having some 5000 electronic eyes in operation.
Experience from overseas like Austria, Switzerland and Germany has shown the Polish organisers that the biggest security threat might not happen at the stadiums or training centres, but rather within fan zones like this one here in Warsaw.
The large congregation of people, the long opening hours and the fact that beer will be served are all contributing factors.
But the authorities assured that there were measures in place to contain any incidents which may happen.