Euro 2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine

As Euro 2012 draws ever near, so the ugly shadows of racism, anti-Semitism and violence loom ever large, set to blight the beautiful game’s big summer bash.

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As Euro 2012 draws ever near, so the ugly shadows of racism, anti-Semitism and violence loom ever large, set to blight the beautiful game’s showpiece European tournament.

UEFA-Euro-2012-logo
The racist violence and anti-Semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukranian football was exposed for the world to see on last night’s Panorama, BBC reporter Chris Rogers witnessing a group of Asian fans being attacked on the terraces of a Ukrainian premier league match and hearing sick anti-Semitic chanting at games in Poland. (Watch it on the iPlayer).

As Piara Powar, Executive Director of Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE), points out on Comment is free today, the risk of racist attack at the Euros is significant:

The Foreign Office advises black and Asian visitors to Ukraine to “take extra care”. Former England captain Sol Campbell responded to the Panorama footage by suggesting we watch the tournament at home or risk “coming back in a coffin”.

Football culture in many parts of eastern Europe has problems that are deep-seated and barely hidden – racism, neo-nazism and a profound hatred of gay people. Some of our monitoring shows the role football plays in perpetuating hate crimes. We found almost 200 incidents of racism and antisemitism in Polish and Ukrainian stadiums during an 18-month period to September 2011.

The situation in the host nations is so bad the families of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain have said they will not travel to Poland and Ukraine because of the fear of racism. Not that the hatred should come as any great surprise.

As Powar notes:

There is, however, nothing in FARE’s knowledge of either country that has changed significantly since they were awarded the 2012 championships.

And as we reported last October:

Anti-Semitism is also rife in Eastern European football; only last month, Legia Warsaw fans displayed a “Jihad” banner during a Europa League group match against Hapoel Tel Aviv, prompting anti-racism campaigner Rafal Pankowski to comment:

“Some Legia fans have been known for anti-Semitic and extreme-right behaviour for years and they had a chance to express their hatred of Jews again when Legia played an Israeli team, this time adopting a pseudo-Islamist guise.”

Adding:

“This is yet another case of anti-Semitic behaviour by extremist groups active in Polish football stadiums, and it could have been predicted.”

With Poland jointly hosting next summer’s European Championships, this incident, together with widespread hooliganism, racism and domestic anti-Semitism, will trouble fans and players – and should trouble UEFA, who have yet to take firm action against racist abuse of black players in Europe, particularly Eastern Europe, down the years.

 


See also:

Obscene: Student sends racist tweets about dying Muamba 19 Mar 2012

The scandal of Kenny Dalglish’s blinkered backing of Luis Suarez 5 Jan 2012

Action must be taken whenever racism rears its ugly head – including in sport 12 Nov 2011

Has racism returned to football? 25 Oct 2011

All eyes on Barcelona as racism rears its ugly head again 3 May 2011


 

Not that we in this country have a perfect record when comes to ridding the game of prejudice, as the links above highlight and as we reported last May:

Such allegations [of racism and anti-Semitism] are not confined to the rest of Europe. Here, though at nothing like the levels seen in the past, racism, prejudice, bigotry still exist. Admittedly, not on the pitch, not amongst players or coaching staff, but in the stands, among more fans than we’d care to admit. It’s still there, and still not stamped out. Death threats. Anti-Semitism. Homophobia. Even parcel bombs.

Not to mention England’s former captain (and current squad member) going on trial for racism after the finals, and widespread sexism, but nothing like on the scale of what we look set to witness in Poland and Ukraine, and with politicians, media and authorities committed to highlighting and tackling the problem, sorely missing amongst the co-hosts. The battle against bigotry, at home and abroad, goes on.

 


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22 Responses to “Euro 2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine”

  1. ♫murat♡

    #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine, writes @ShamikDas: http://t.co/1DfbGkzV

  2. Sinan Gokcen

    #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine, writes @ShamikDas: http://t.co/1DfbGkzV

  3. leftlinks

    Left Foot Forward – Euro 2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine http://t.co/l6a0uFN5

  4. Chantal Hampton

    #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine, writes @ShamikDas: http://t.co/1DfbGkzV

  5. QPR REPORT

    "Euro 2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine " http://t.co/wJ2bRjgc Beyond-#QPR #Euro2012 #Antisemitism

  6. Grzegorz Wojak

    I’m curious how BBC & Sol Campbell explain that in 2011 Nigerian has become the first black man to become a member of parliament in Poland. John Abraham Godson has lived in Poland for almost half his life and has become a Polish citizen. Mr Godson’s success has been hailed as a landmark in 40 million country where there are just 4,000 black people. Since last election there are two black M.P. How they survived in Poland?

    Google’s search results of “united kingdom racism murder” are also interesting. I never heard about such a case in Poland in recent years. Maybe better BBC & mr Campbell should warn to avoid next Olimpics in London?

  7. Wilsond3

    Another gullible website fooled by Panorama’s one-sided “documentary”. I can’t comment about Ukraine but I have lived in Poland since 2002, There is a race problem in certain sections of Polish society, but it is a minority. It’s so easy to tar a whole nation based on tabloid sensationalsim. Once the tournament is over and the matches have gone ahead without incident I look forward to your apology to the Polish people.

  8. 45 Apples

    RT @leftfootfwd: #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine, writes @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wR7Y9KfZ

  9. vicky

    RT @leftfootfwd: #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine, writes @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wR7Y9KfZ

  10. Panorama

    RT @leftfootfwd: #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine, writes @ShamikDas: http://t.co/wR7Y9KfZ

  11. Michael Rawlings

    Euro 2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland …: As Euro 2012 draws ever near, so the ug… http://t.co/IE0jJjjy

  12. Jane

    RT @leftfootfwd Frm last nite: #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland & Ukraine http://t.co/vKc1IUfC

     

  13. Shamik Das

    Frm last nite: #Euro2012: Prepare for racism, anti-Semitism and violence in Poland and Ukraine, writes @ShamikDas: http://t.co/1DfbGkzV

  14. Alastair Lichten

    They didn’t say anything about the Polish people being racist it was about a significant minority or Polish and Ukrainian football fans

  15. Michael Emonds

    Well at least Spurs fans don’t endure Anti-Semitic chants here anymore! ( irony ) .I abhor racism & Nazism.But I think this programme is stereotyping whole countries – surely xenophobic ? You could film a group of Neo-Nazis here & get similar results.

  16. Anonymous

    …Most of them who are far right in their politics, something which should make anyone associated with that fringe squirm.

  17. JessyP

    To Grzegorgz – I’m struggling to understand how your points about a black MP and citizenship have anything to do with the documentary. Certainly, the Panorama piece reflected a minory sect in Poland and the Ukraine, however it highlighted a real societal problem that clearly needs to be addressed. Yes, there are certainly race crime issues in the UK, but by and large they are dealt with. Perhaps there is a low race crime rate in Poland and Ukraine because they are often not reported?

  18. You know all about the racism, now read about the homophobia in the Euro 2012 hosts | Left Foot Forward

    […] Left Foot Forward reported last week, there are big fears racism, anti-Semitism and violence will mar Euro 2012, which kicks […]

  19. Katie Stanton

    Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain's families said they won't be in Poland/Ukraine because of fear of racism http://t.co/MygB9Z4R #Euro2012

  20. Bellator the Great

    Poland doesn’t have much of a race problem… there are a few non-Europeans and Jews, true, but they’re in small numbers. Hopefully the Poles manage to stop their country being destroyed like it has happened to Britain, France, etc.

  21. Look Left – Racism at Euro 2012, the Diamond Jubilee and remembering Margaret Bondfield | Left Foot Forward

    […] Left Foot Forward reported, there are worries racism, anti-Semitism and violence could blight the three-and-a-half week […]

  22. UEFA’s pitiful response to racism at Euro 2012 should worry us all | Left Foot Forward

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