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Crackdown on racists at Euro 2012

Euro 2012 chiefs order more police at training after Dutch abuse
by James Olley

11 June 2012

UEFA today called for a stronger police presence at open training sessions at Euro 2012 and urged the authorities to take the toughest action possible against anyone found guilty of racist abuse.

The demands from European football’s governing body come five days after Dutch black players were taunted with monkey noises and jeers as they trained at a ground in Krakow.

Holland captain Mark Van Bommel branded the incident a “real disgrace” and tournament chiefs have now ­written to the mayors of the cities in Poland and Ukraine which are hosting teams.

In a statement UEFA said: “We ask that all effective and necessary measures — including an increased police presence — be implemented to prevent any display of discriminatory or racist behaviour at such public ­sessions. We have also requested that the authorities ensure that any person found to be engaging in racist behaviour be immediately ejected from the stadium and its vicinity, and that criminal proceedings be launched against such individuals.”

A letter was also sent to the Polish sports minister Joanna Mucha asking for the full support of the authorities.

UEFA insist the incident involving the Dutch at Stadion Miejski, the home of Wisla Krakow, is an isolated one. However, there were reports that a group of Spain fans racially abused Italy striker Mario Balotelli during yesterday’s game in Gdansk. Neither team have commented.

In the build-up to the tournament, a BBC Panorama documentary highlighted the problem of racism at ­football grounds in Poland and Ukraine. Both co-hosts denied the allegations while Ukraine coach Oleg Blokhin reacted angrily when asked about the issue ahead of his team’s opening match of the tournament. “I don’t want to talk about racism — there is no racism in Ukraine,” said Blokhin, whose side take on Sweden in Kiev tonight.

“This is a political matter. I don’t think it has anything to do with football. If there are any incidents, they will not be in Ukraine.”

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