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Dublin: 7°C Tuesday 26 January 2021
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Frugal Irish fans 'can sleep rough' in Poland

A Polish Facebook page titled “Fans sleep where they want” has garnered over 12,500 likes.

Workers build a stage area in the main square, ahead of the Euro 2012 kick-off, in Krakow today.
Workers build a stage area in the main square, ahead of the Euro 2012 kick-off, in Krakow today.
Image: Kirsty Wigglesworth/AP/Press Association Images

SLEEPING ON BENCHES or by the river is advice football fans who can’t afford pricey hotels in Poland are hearing ahead of the Euro 2012 football championships.

The campaign sprung up on social-networking site Facebook with the “Kibice spiom gdzie chcom” or “Fans sleep where they want” page, which has garnered over 12,500 “likes” since May 25.

Tips there on the best open-air crash pads include beaches and railway stations or benches under magnolia trees. So far, city and public transport authorities are fans of the idea, but it has gotten a thumbs down from the Warsaw metro and Euro 2012 organisers.

“We wanted to appeal to city authorities and local residents to be open and understanding toward the fans,” campaign co-organiser Katarzyna Tyska told AFP.

They hope Poland’s four host cities will let sleeping fans lie as many Poles can ill afford hiked-up hotel prices during Euro. Co-hosting the 16-nation, quadrennial football showcase this June with Ukraine, Poland has matches in capital Warsaw, the Baltic port of Gdansk, Wroclaw in the southwest and Poznan in the west.

While the “sleep rough” campaign is for everyone, it applies most to out-of-town Poles who plan to spend just a night or two in the host cities.

“We assume foreign fans will be staying longer, so the option of spending several nights under the open sky would be tiring for them,” Tyska said.

But for those willing to brave the elements, they will be left alone so long as they’re not disturbing the peace or drinking alcohol in public, Katarzyna Dobrowolska, from the Warsaw city warden press service told AFP. Polish state railways echoed the laissez-faire attitude.

“Fans sleeping in the stations won’t be woken up and the stations will remain open all night,” said spokeswoman Barbara Leszczynska.

No snoozing however in the Warsaw underground, Poland’s only metro line, says spokesman Krzysztof Malawko citing safety concerns. The city’s Euro 2012 organisers were also not enthusiastic, discouraging makeshift sleep-outs due to weather, hygiene and safety woes.

“And let’s not forget sleep comfort,” said Marta Brzegowa, a city spokeswoman for Euro 2012.

- © AFP, 2012

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