WARSAW: One of the Swiss organisers of Euro 2008 has praised the Polish and Ukrainian authorities for attaining the “highest level” in the staging of the current European Championship.

Marcel Bruelhart, from Bern, was speaking at a press conference at which his words could be registered by Polish Sports Minister Joanna Mucha as well Marcin Herrar, the president of PL.2012.

Bruelhart assessed positively all practical aspects of the tournament such as stadia, fan zones, transport and security. He played down the significance of the sporadic hooligan incidents, saying: “This kind of situation occurs in the course of such events. In the 2006 World Cup there were riots on the streets of Dortmund, similar situations took place during Euro 2008 – but hardly anyone remembers.”

The close co-operation between the various authorities was also praised as having emulated previous events.

Bruelhart said: “The cooperation between host cities in Poland is much more efficient than in Switzerland. In our case every city organized the tournament virtually singlehandedly . . . In Poland even the policemen smile which practically does not happen in Switzerland.”

However he warned the organisers about the stresses and pressures which would come with the demands on the fan zones for the quarterfinals and semifinals, when the likes of Germany or Poland would advance to the final stages of the tournament.

Minister of Sport Joanna Mucha confirmed the popularity of the fan zones. She said that almost 1.5m had been recorded thus far inPoland and Ukraine.

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