Oh dear, very poor publicity for Euro 2012. But of course the racism exposed in a very damning BBC TV Panorama report shown tonight shouldn’t be brushed under the carpet. Have to say the situation in Ukraine looks worse than in Poland – though that’s cold comfort. What particularly disturbs me about Poland is that aspects of the programme reveal exactly the sort of racism I documented in Polska Dotty 10+ years back. For example, in my book, I mention how, when watching a football match with my work colleagues, they nicknamed every black player “Toby Nairobi”. They didn’t seem to mean to cause great offence, but equally couldn’t see the offence they were causing. Something not dissimilar – though of course on a different scale – struck me about the Polish “Ultras”, the extreme fans: their favoured terms of abuse were anti-semitic, but one got the impression it could have been almost anything; they’d just latched onto this due to historical circumstance. Truly lumpen football hooligans. Probably Sol Campbell is right it was too early to award the games to Poland/Ukraine – not because of the countries/people at large, but because of their football racism/violence problem. But we’re there now, and let’s hope it all goes well. The media can be lurid, if you hadn’t noticed – even Sol went a bit far talking about fans coming home in coffins – and there must be every chance the Championships, no doubt heavily policed, will go smoothly for the most part. Thereafter, Poland/Ukraine need to fix their football racism problems once and for all.