Allegations of racism in Poland and Ukraine have set a sour note to the beginning of a tournament which is meant to unite people of all types.
In a training session held in Krakow, Dutch players Nigel de Jong and Gregory van der Wiel were subjected to “monkey chants”. UEFA tried to deny that the chants were racially motivated, claiming that they came from locals who didn’t want any other side using the stadium than the home side Wisla Krakow. Read the article in The Guardian for further details: EURO 2012 – Dutch Players Subjected To Racist Abuse At Training Session.
The BBC’s Panorama show recently aired a documentary on racism in the two hoist nations titled “Stadiums Of Hate” which can be seen below. It focuses on racist elements within the supporters of both Krakow sides (Wisla and Cracovia), as well as in the Ukraine.
The families of black England team members Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott have already decided against going to the tournament to avoid potential problems. England, as well as the Netherlands are based in Krakow.
UEFA, along with every other sporting body, should have a zero tolerance stance against racism whether by players or fans. The officials should have been aware of the potential problems when they were deciding on which nation(s) would host the tournament. People from all over the world will be watching the tournament, so if anything goes wrong, then football will be the big loser.
There will be calls for Polish and Ukrainian sides, at both national and club level to be banned from any future tournaments, including the 2014 FIFA World Cup if there are any racial controversies.
The Derp hopes that nothing will happen that will spoil what should be a spectacle being played out amongst the best national sides in Europe.