Euro 2012: Racism Latest

As I predicted, the drama on the pitch has so far eclispsed racist allegations off it – and that’s great news.  Not that the tournament has been free of racism.  Following monkey chants at a Dutch training camp pre-tournament, Croatian fans are being investigated for alleged racist chants and banners at their match against Italy, and the throwing of a banana on the pitch.  There are further allegations of racist chanting during Russia v Czech Republic, and Italy v Spain.  As I’ve written on this blog before, Western Europe is not free of the racist scourge, but I do think the preponderance of Eastern European fans in racist allegations to date is revealing.  Good on the Ukrianian fans for not apparently having transgressed, especially in light of the problems thrown up by the BBC Panorama expose.  I’ve always said the best thing to come out of this Euro 2012 racism furore would be renewed vigour on the part of authorities in Eastern Europe to stamp out football racism once and for all.  To this end it’s terrific to see the Krakow authorities launching what they claim to be a “comprehensive racism strategy” in a city where fierce local rivals Wisla and Cracovia have long used anti-semitic rhetoric.  As well as scrubbing out racist graffiti – something I saw when living in Poland, and described in Polska Dotty – the strategy will include programmes for primary school children, which I find mighty encouraging.  If such an approach could be rolled out across Eastern Europe, targeting extreme soccer fans and at the same time weakening the general reputation for racism in the region – a reputation not unearned – this will be a great achievement, and far beyond football in importance.

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Filed under Anti-semitism, BBC, England fans, Euro 2012, Football, News, Poland, Polska, Polska Dotty, Racism, Soccer, Ukraine

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