Euro 2012: a look at notorious host venues
Before I set foot in Australia, I was told by many that this country is one of the most racist nations on the planet.
But, having spent over two years here, I can say that Australians are some of the most friendly and sociable beings in the world.
If anyone wants to know where racist violence is rife, look towards Poland and Ukraine, sadly, the wrong choice of venues for the Euro 2012 tournament.
The BBC documentary ‘Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate’, which can also be viewed on YouTube, clearly illustrates the extent of racism in the sport in the host nations and it is appalling, shameful and a complete embarrassment, to say the least.
Racism in football and racist violence among the fans are like the opposite ends of a pole.
Politically motivated, racist and anti-Semitic (discrimination against Jews) attitudes are ridiculously common in the stadiums coupled with united displays of Nazi salutes and monkey chants towards players from African backgrounds.
The Ultras, renowned for their fanaticism, vocally (abusedly) show their support and display massive banners designed to intimidate opposing players and fans.
Moreover, innocent spectators from diverse backgrounds are targeted by these hooligans and clobbered for no rhyme or reason despite the presence of security personnel.
For instance, a group of Indians were bashed up by thugs for no fault of theirs at the Metalist stadium in Ukraine, as is shown in the documentary.
England international, Theo Walcott has said that his family wouldn’t be travelling to Euro 2012 for fear of racist violence in the stands.
Former England captain, Sol Campbell, believes that Poland and Ukraine should not have been awarded the privilege of hosting such a prestigious competition in the first place. He advised families to not even risk travelling to the stadiums and to watch the action on television.
When players themselves come out and make such statements, you can’t help but accept the fact that it must really be horrifying.
BBC is one of the leading broadcasters in the world that sets high standards but they seem to have gone wrong with the timing of this documentary with the tournament set to begin soon.
Some of the teams such as Sweden and France, to name a few, have players of African origin in their ranks and it’s way too late to shield them from racist abuse.
Both FIFA and UEFA have done absolutely nothing over the years to tackle racist violence in football apart from launching measly campaigns.
This is what UEFA President, Michel Platini, said in 2008, “We will call for play to be stopped when these things (racial abuse) happen and for announcements to be made in the stadium. If it continues, the match will be stopped.”
This implies that he doesn’t want to be involved with solving the conundrum of racism and that the referee happens to be the most powerful individual who decides the outcome of this problem in the sport.
Sepp Blatter encompasses an entirely different discussion as he comes from a different planet altogether.
Poland and Ukraine might be beautiful places to visit; however, spectators in these regions are inhuman, abhorrent and are a blotch to global fandom.
Euro 2012 will go on successfully with extensive coverage and focus on the field and sadly, most of the violence that’s bound to occur in the stands will expectedly go unreported.
It’s a pity that the honest and passionate fan who toils hard to save up money for match-day tickets ends up suffering. Football might be the beautiful game but it’s anything but beautiful in the stadiums of Poland and Ukraine.