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'Drunk tanks' a sobering prospect for football fans

POLISH police have promised a hardline crackdown on drunkenness during Euro 2012.

Offending fans could be sent to 'drunk tanks' where they will be stripped naked and hosed down with cold water. They will then be charged €80 to leave after sobering up.

"Police here have a zero tolerance for public displays of drunkenness and clamp down on it pretty firmly," said Maciej Milewicz, city hall spokesman in Poznan where Ireland will play two matches.

"The drunk tanks are places where those who cause problems or who are too drunk to stand are kept to sober up.

"There are nurses and doctors there to look after them (the drunk fans)," he added.

But six people have died this year while inside Polish drunk tanks and the Helsinki Human Rights Foundation is calling for them to be abolished.

One woman, who had been strapped to a bed, set herself on fire with a lighter. She later died of her burns.

One man, who was arrested walking home drunk from a party, said: "It was probably the most terrifying thing I've ever gone through. I was strip-searched on arrival and made fun of in front of female staff.

"When I protested they threw buckets of freezing cold water over me and then tied me to a bed with leather straps and left me there all night."

In other cases people have complained of being beaten with rubber truncheons and of being forced to do push ups outside while naked.

"If people are drunk and disorderly then it is our duty to make sure they are off the streets," the police said.

Irish fans face staying two hours from Poznan. Hotels in the city are already hiking prices.

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As well as Ireland, Poznan is playing host to supporters from Italy and Croatia.

For those fans unable to afford the highly inflated prices or who can't find any free rooms, the city council has struck a deal with fellow host city Wroclaw.

However, fans will then face a two-hour train journey to travel from accommodation to the match itself.


Bartek Kubiak, in charge of organising accommodation for the games in Poznan, said: "Fans will be able to travel to and from Wroclaw, where there are more hotels.

"It is only about two hours by train and there will be plenty running, so we don't think it will be a problem."

Poznan city council has arranged with local universities to finish their term a week early so fans can rent rooms in student dormitories.

"There are about 1,200 places available in student halls of residence," said Mr Kubiak. "It's difficult to say how much they will cost as the figure will be decided by the university.".

Students at the university said they pay €75 per month for their digs, but they have heard that fans will be charged €75 per night.

A spokesman for the Adam Mickiewicz University said: "We have yet to decide how much to charge visitors for the use of student accommodation."

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