BBC BLOGS - David Bond
« Previous | Main | Next »

Has Uefa done enough to fight racism?

Post categories:

David Bond | 15:52 UK time, Wednesday, 6 June 2012

The debate about racism in football hangs heavy over the final preparations for Euro 2012.

For England manager Roy Hodgson the next few days are likely to prove extremely uncomfortable as he faces difficult questions over his decision to pick John Terry and leave Rio Ferdinand at home.

He says Ferdinand's omission was for purely "footballing reasons". But his refusal to change his mind even after Gary Cahill fractured his jaw has led to claims that his motivation was more political.

As we all know Terry is accused of racially abusing Ferdinand's brother Anton during a Premier League match between Chelsea and Queens Park Rangers last October. He will stand trial directly after the tournament and it is hard to believe this hasn't played some part in Hodgson's thinking.

In order to see this content you need to have both Javascript enabled and Flash installed. Visit BBC Webwise for full instructions. If you're reading via RSS, you'll need to visit the blog to access this content.

Platini says referees must stop games if they hear racist abuse

Whatever the truth it is a controversy certain to dominate the headlines as England and Hodgson settle into their team base in the pretty medieval market square here in Krakow.

Three hours train ride away in Warsaw a wider discussion about racism - prompted by the BBC's Panorama investigation into co-hosts Ukraine and Poland - is taking place.

The programme, which showed sickening scenes of two Asian students being beaten by neo-Nazi thugs in the Ukrainian city of Kharkiv (one of the country's host cities), highlighted long held concerns about the challenges of taking the tournament to Eastern Europe for the first time.

Last night Polish television replayed the programme and followed up with a discussion about the issues raised.

It's fair to say the reaction in Poland has been defensive to the point where some TV programmes took to showing footage from last summer's riots in the UK.

Pointing to another country's problems doesn't remove your own and what has perhaps shocked me the most has been the apparent absence of shock from those here who have now seen the Panorama footage. This is not because they in any way agree with the thugs making monkey noises or wearing anti semitic T-shirts. They don't. It's just they are so used to it they don't think it's a story.

Of course it would be extremely unfair to think these problems exist only in places like Kharkiv or Krakow. Across Europe and even in English grounds you hear and witness behaviour which is unacceptable.

The difference with England is that the game has done a lot to shift attitudes in the last 10 years.

Racist fans are the latest in a long line of problems to dog preparations for Euro 2012.

The venues were late, the transport network is a problem both in and between the two hosts and politicians of western governments, including our own, are threatening to boycott Ukraine over the government's treatment of opposition leader Yulia

Despite all these problems Uefa has continued to stand by Ukraine and Poland, arguing it was right to award its prized event to two eastern European countries.

Today in an interview with the BBC, Uefa president Michel Platini told me they have done their best to prepare for the tournament despite facing so many major challenges.

But he added he was "shocked" and saddened by the Panorama report - although, remarkably, he admitted he hadn't actually watched it.

"I feel bad of course," he said. "Because I am not a racist. I played with many people of many colours, from many regions.

"We are shocked about racists but we are trying to do something, we have to fight against that."

The question is how hard are Platini and Uefa really fighting? The Frenchman says referees here have been given the power to take players off the pitch if they see or hear any evidence of racist abuse during Euro 2012.

But Uefa have repeatedly failed to send out a strong message on racism when it comes to sanctioning clubs and countries whose fans step out of line.

Take the example of Manchester City - fined 40,000 euros for taking the field late - while Porto were fined 10,000 euros fewer after their fans racially abused City striker Mario Balotelli.

Platini disagreed with me that there was a contradiction here, arguing that City had previous form in this area. He also made it clear he, as head of Uefa, couldn't be seen to be intervening in the decisions of an independent disciplinary panel.

Maybe. But this example shows how out of touch Uefa's sanctions are with the severity of the problem. The punishments need to be much much harder to ram the message home.

Over the next month Ukraine and Poland will be in the spotlight in a way they have never encountered before. Should it go wrong then the reputation of Uefa and its ambitious French president will also be on the line.


Page 1 of 6

  • Comment number 1.

    "The debate about racism in football hangs heavy over the final preparations for Euro 2012" - yes, in the UK and among UK journalists absolutely obsessed with the topic. Take a proper look at the coverage of the Euros in other European countries and it's almost impossible to find a reference to racism, whether it's among the Poles and Ukranians or among players and managers. That Hodgson is being hounded for leaving out a player that has done bugger all in the last few years because of an incident involving his brother is a sad indicment of the media's focus and how twisted their mindset has become in the last few years. If Roy only plays 2 black players in any one game, will that be 'racist' too? Come on..

  • Comment number 2.

    In short, No. And they never will.

  • Comment number 3.

    Have Uefa done enough? No. Am I suprised by anything Uefa or Fifa decide upon? No.

    Rotten from the top down.

  • Comment number 4.

    UEFA are far too lenient on the culprits, handing out token fines.
    Teams should be thrown out of the competition in which the offences occured and barred from the next one.
    Unless draconian action is taken, nothing will change.

  • Comment number 5.

    I would argue that it is not Uefa's job the job is that of the Polish and Ukrainian FA to ensure supporters behave themselves the FA not Uefa move game such as Liverpool v United to prevent people getting drunk before kick off although Uefa and Fifa have certainly not helped with awarding Euro 2012 to Poland and Ukraine and the 2018 World Cup in Russia a domestic crackdown by officals during league games was needed but Uefa should be paying attention to incidents across Europe

  • Comment number 6.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 7.

    2 black players out of 11 would be over-representation in terms of a percentage of the overall population, but this has been the case for years. We know that players are selected based on talent, work ethic and ability to form a team with each other - not skin colour, national background, religion or anything. Roy Hodgson was not the media's first choice for the England job, and I can't help but thinking the Rio storm is being kicked up by journalists who can still bitter about this.

    It's sad that Polish TV should choose to drag last summer's riots into this, but the harsh truth is that these only occurred in cities with large black populations (nothing in impoverished areas such as Hull and Middlesbrough), and followed a police incident the media chose to portray as racially-based.

  • Comment number 8.

    Platini has said refs can stop games if there are issues with racism, but at how much racism is enough before they take that step, and what happens then? Are the matches rescheduled? Are the scores left as they stand at the time of stopping? Are they restarted half an hour later after the offenders are removed? I seriously doubt this has been thought through properly and is only a token gesture to show FIFA and UEFA are trying to deal with the situation.

  • Comment number 9.

    Platini and Blatter are an embarrassment. I can vividly remember when Spanish fans made monkey chants towards England's black players in a friendly in I think 2004. The Spanish football federation were fined less that 20000 Euro's. Spain should have been banned until they get their house in order. It is appalling that the people who run the game talk so big but actually produce so little.

    The problems in Poland and Ukraine are not helped by the fact the police and Football associations refuse to acknowledge that there is a real problem. One of the top police officers suggested 'Nazi salutes' were in fact waving at the opposing fans and that he had seen the same thing occurring in the English premier league. These people are just crazy. Self-imposed ignorance is a huge problem.

    Racism in all its abhorrent forms is completely unacceptable. The only way FIFA/UEFA will actually get countries to sort themselves out is to start banning club and national sides from competition. They were quite happy to ban English teams for hooligans so why is racism dealt with by a tiny fine?

    Until we get people running the game who are strong enough to punish such things properly, the problems will always remain.

  • Comment number 10.

    Talk of stopping games is ludicrous, some elements would use this to influence results. It should possible to refine technology to identify individuals who are mouthing racist remarks and extract them, or position stewards in the crowd to pinpoint trouble spots

  • Comment number 11.

    A player CHARGED with racist abuse. Granted, a loathsome individual but innocent until proven otherwise.

  • Comment number 12.

    The issue isnt at international level anyway. Its a national issue and therefore falls beyond the ears of UEFA generally and into the areas of national law enforcement.

    No doubts UEFA does little about this but I do think the Panorama rather painted two nations as racist rather than small sections of its football fans. I blogged about it here.

  • Comment number 13.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 14.

    Why are the media, and in particular the BBC trying to kick up a fuss over Ferdinand's ommission?

    I find it repulsive and completely patronising.

    But the BBC have always been patronising on supposed race issues.

    Stick to the facts BBC and leave the speculative stories to the red tops.

  • Comment number 15.

    -in football.

    That text should've been added at the end of the blog's title. It sounds misleading on its own.

    Platinini actually surprised me. His answers were concise and always remained on point. I think interruption of matches due to this form of anti-social behaviour would bring it into light, and so be very embarrassing for the host nation involved.

    If the rule is implemented, it would be quite innovative from the Frenchman.

  • Comment number 16.

    The problem is people are sometimes (mostly) racist in everyday life and just bring that into the stadium as they are obviously not very bright (a dumb racist, that's new) . The only to stop the people being abusive in the crowd is have empty stadiums and then they will change there ways after long enough (they won't stop being racist, just more polite ones)

  • Comment number 17.

    It is right to say that pointing out the same kind of problem in another country does not solve the issue. However last summer's riots in the UK were not a minor issue. It really showed the scale and power of racism and mutual hate in this country. Maybe much has been done about it in the football area but the problem still exists. The Panorama footage was not objective at all and the suggestion of one footballer ("Stay, do not go! Otherwise you may come back in a coffin") was surely abusive and overrated. If you attack hard, you may expect a hard blow back.

  • Comment number 18.

    David Bond, you got overly aggressive with Platini and you cornernered yourself from which you could not recover. I am black and have often been a object of racist abuse off and on football pitches. But I always held the knuckleheads who abused me responsible for their attitudes.

    Granted Platini and his UEFA could do a little more by aggresively screening nations before awarding them a coveted Euro hosting priviledges. For example, he could have checked Ukraine's dismal record with toxic form of racism displayed by rank and file fans and institutional leaders.

    As early as 2006, current Ukraine coach, and former European Footballer of the Year Oleg Blokhin once made the following decidedly racist remark, which you can read from a NY Times article dated June 5, 2006 and titled "Oleg Blokhin on Bananas and Beating Up Foreigners"

    "Let them [fans] learn from Andriy Shevchenko or Blokhin, and not some Zumba-Bumba whom they took off a tree, gave him two bananas and now he plays in the Ukrainian League."

    Blokhin has gotten away with it, as he goes on about his business everyday unscathed. Few seem to have taken him to task, considering he is the head honcho of the Ukranian football team, about to play against many European black players, whom he referred to as "Zumba-Bumba whom they took off a tree".

    Did UEFA hold Blokhin accountable for this blatantly racist remark? It does not appear to be so. Platini and UEFA should have demanded from Ukraine and Poland a vigorous stamping of racism before awarding them the priviledges of hosting the 2012 tournament. I do not know if Platini was a UEFA head during 2006. But, there is no reason why he could not have acted retroactively to hold Blokhin accountable for this. This I am certain he could have controlled easily. To that extent, Platini and UEFA are responsible for not doing enought to wipe out the current toxic racism atmosphere in Europe.

    But lets not get carried away. Plantini, or UEFA are not responsible for the display of any racist and anti-Semitic acts pepetrated by many of Europe's societal low-lives and dimwits. Thus, aggressively questioning, and suspectly holding Platini responsible for racist acts in football stadiums can only harm the campaign to eradicate it.

  • Comment number 19.

    Has Uefa done enough to fight racism? No, they have done NOTHING!
    This could be a particularly nasty finals, with many fans staying away, the unsold tickets have gone onto general sale and could quite easily wind up in the hands of these nazi clowns.

  • Comment number 20.

    Trying to make "racial" capital out of Hodgson's decision to leave Ferdinand - Who can't do two games in four days - is a shameful exploitation and shows the revolting cynicism of the UK media. the BBC have invested a lot in capturing the neo nazi footage in ukraine and they going to wring the last ounce of poison out of it. Even at the expense of our national team.

  • Comment number 21.

    I thought 3 weeks ago that how we did in the Euros wasn't important but that this was an opportunity to plan for the future and blood young players in a competitive environment. Now people are complaining because Rio is left out. Which one is it? He has had a better season fitness wise, but can he manage the intense schedule and is it worth the risk? He is 33 and Kelly would do a better job as a make shift CB than Rio would a make shift RB.

    I don't condone racism, but is this constant media self righteousness really doing anyone any favours?
    Isn't generalising a country because of the actions of an ignorant few another form of racism?

    When Hodgson went to Liverpool, the media championed him and later said Liverpool and the fans didn't give him a chance and how poorly he had been treated. Now, just 2 weeks into the England job, he is picked apart for leaving out Rio. Unbelievable.
    Let him do the job or leave him alone.
    Those who can, manage football clubs, those who can't, speculate by writing ridiculous blogs.

  • Comment number 22.

    UEFA and FIFA love a Panorama investigation...

    Having seen it I have to say it was pretty shocking the extent of the racism on show and the pretty apathetic reaction of those in authority, including the one chap who stated that what was clearly a nazi salute was in fact merely the fans 'pointing to the other supporters'. That being said it would have been interesting to have more varied opinions than just that of Sol Campbell, qualified as he is to give one.

    Taking action on racism within the UEFA group of countries is of course UEFA's responsibility. What is disappointing about UEFA is that they seem to have a similar attitude to that of Sepp Blatter (lets all have a handshake), which appears to be that racism is such a big issue to tackle, and is so culturally dependent that a 'one size fits all' approach won't work and so the best bet is to not really tackle it at all.

    The FA has done a decent job in the UK and it has to be said you can only legislate so far for people- some people are just morons and you must punish them individually. But if it is possible, and has been possible, in the Ukraine and Poland to go to matches over the years and see such blatant, mob-mentality racism then it is ridiculous that UEFA should have felt it appropriate to award the Euro's to those countries. On one thing Sol was definitely right- get your house in order, then you get the tournament, not the other way around.

    What is patently clear from what has been coming out of UEFA in the last few weeks is that they weren't really aware of the extent of the problem (assuming the BBC did it's research properly?!), and that says a lot more about their blinkered selection process than anything else.

    Speaking of blinkered selection processes...what reasons?!?!?!

  • Comment number 23.

    @21- Gary Cahill is a CB therefore it is redundant to consider Rio's credentials at RB. We have cover at RB. And if the criteria was in fact whether a player could do a job at RB and CB then Micah Richards is surely a better shout than Glen Johnson's understudy at Liverpool?

  • Comment number 24.

    So, there are two critical concerns in world football: racism and corruption. Racism is a problem in Eastern Europe, Spain, Italy, Portugal... UEFA doesn't lift a finger; corruption is endemic in Italy.... UEFA doesn't lift a finger. Oh and there's a problem because English football has some sugar-daddies. Therefore (I'm not entirely sure of a link, but) costs may threaten one or two badly run clubs in Europe... so UEFA comes down hard with FFP like no other initiative. Actually its protectionism for Milan, Barca, Munich, Madrid et al. Scandalous anti English focus.... could it be racism against the English Mr Platini?

  • Comment number 25.

    Ban the country, simples!!!!!!
    If the media sees any fan making any racist gestures, ban the country for 5 years.
    Let's see how many of them change, and let's see how many countries come heavy on those racist fans

  • Comment number 26.

    BBC, seriously, stop spreading panic surrounding this tournament when it has not much common with reality. A collection of racist incidents from Premier League or images from London riots would be enough for the movie as biased and unfair as your infamous BBC Panorama programme about stadiums of hate. What you will experience in Poland is huge enthusiasm and smiling faces of millions of Poles. Just go out to Polish host cities and see for yourselves. So I have a small request for you. Be fair and show this tournament in true light: with training sessions having match-day audiences, thousands of flags welcoming travelling teams in whole country. Obviously there might happen an incident somewhere just like on every tournament. But this will not be tournament of hate, just the opposite, the sheer hunger of events like this in this part of Europe is what it makes Euro 2012 potentially incredible event. Don't diminish its beauty just because it is somewhere in distant east where you think it's still like pre-1989 or because you want your readers and viewers to save money for Olympics.

    With kindest regards from Krakow where all I see are smiling faces of your fans

  • Comment number 27.


    Richards wasn't on the list and now Roy has another option. Therefore, it isn't really redundant.

  • Comment number 28.

    It's shocking how they awarded the euros to countries with such big problems with racsism. They should have told them if they want the euros they have to get a grip on what happens in football stadiums. I expect people will be idiots but the fact that security turned a blind eye is appalling. Also uefa needs to have every one fired and start again as in its current form it is a joke.

  • Comment number 29.

    23 again

    And regarding Cahill being called up, he would be my choice over Rio, just because of fitness issues.

  • Comment number 30.

    If the media sees any fan making any racist gestures, ban the country for 5 years.

    so based on this statement if Terry was to be found guilty, shall we ban England for 5 years? or is it just about fans and not players.

  • Comment number 31.

    It would be more interesting to see who would be called up if Terry was injured though.

  • Comment number 32.

    To BBC creating PANORAMA.
    Nothing more then short sided shambles looking for a cheap scandals.Shame you BBC!!!!
    What you have shown especially from Polish League matches during the program is something what you can expect all across Europe.
    You are creating cheap scandal.
    England is becoming poor nation with poor and unhealthy society and you envy us beautiful cities you can only dream of.

  • Comment number 33.

    1.At 17:30 6th Jun 2012, The Caravinagres wrote:
    in the UK and among UK journalists absolutely obsessed with the topic. Take a proper look at the coverage of the Euros in other European countries and it's almost impossible to find a reference to racism

    Fair point , I live in Continental Europe and there has not been anything in the media about these sort of problems.
    There is always a small idiotic minority in any culture who do not truly reflect the real picture.

  • Comment number 34.

    27- I would agree with your age point about Kelly, but of course it's redundant to consider Rio's ability to play at RB when considering who is best placed to replace a specialist CB. I have no problem with Cahill being in over Rio as he's a very good CB. But the facts speak for themselves- you have a player with 81 england caps, extensive tournament experience who is first choice CB at one of the biggest teams in the world sitting in the wings, and a space opens up at CB in the squad. How then is it relevant to consider whether he can play at full back as well when you already have Phil Jones, Chris Smalling and Glen Johnson who can play there?

    It is obvious why Rio isn't in and you're right, if JT was injured there is no doubt who would have been getting the nod.

  • Comment number 35.


    Yeah, I know. Carragher! He's just on a list we don't know about yet.

  • Comment number 36.

    Ha- him and Ben foster. You could make a half decent second string out of players that have rejected England...

  • Comment number 37.

    English media will be gutted if we don,t have a racist bloodbath , although they should look a bit closer to home if they want some racism with their football.

  • Comment number 38.

    Does the BBC now run regular anti UEFA/FIFA blogs? If the Euro's were being held in the UK foreign broadcasters would be running programmes on the endemic racism and sectarianism in British society against Blacks/Asians and Scots/Irish Catholics.

    There is always a small idiotic minority in any culture who do not truly reflect the real picture.
    Absolutely and the hope is that the Euro's and the WC will sharpen up the act of governments in EEurope in particular.

  • Comment number 39.

    One simple solution, ban any club from playing domestically and continetally where it's players and/or fans show sustained racism. Sustained should count as three offences within three matches. The same should apply for offences during international matches.

    The length of ban? 5 years.

  • Comment number 40.

    Since the BBC decided to remove my posts for no apparent reasons I shall post again.
    Platini can't be held responsible for society's problems. Racism in football will exist for as long as it exists in society. British media are very good at highlighting the problems others face, yet they lose credibility when their 'voice' is sol campbell who as far as I know has never lived there.
    The postponement of Terry's case due to football reasons shows hows seriously this issue is taken by the British authorities themselves.
    I have lived in Italy, France, England the Middle east and the Caribbean and have yet to see a racism free society.

  • Comment number 41.

    Post 1 you are spot on. It's embarassing how easilly led so much of the population of this country is. If i wanted to film a "chilling" documentary about racism in England it would be easy. Racism is and forever will occur in pockets of society in every country, all this media hype does is give it coverage that it should never have, its shameless. There has become this sickenng obsession with racism in our press at the moment, every article i read is exactly the same old tosh being doled out, its getting really boring.

  • Comment number 42.

    Clearly there's racism and prejudice in every country. UEFA and FIFA have taken the view that football can help in certain situations and let's hope they are correct in that thinking. I can't help but feel that no matter what Platini says in certain countries it will come back on him should there be widespread nazi salutes (or is that pointing at opposition fans) etc as he is the public face of UEFA and that's the risk of putting yourself in such a position.

  • Comment number 43.

    The great unspoken truth is that racist abuse is a ploy - something used by rival fans DELIBERATELY to distract and put the opposition off their game. It is part of football - and other sports. If it upsets someone, then all the better. They won't play their best if they're angry at the fans and distracted by chanting. Yes, we've 'tackled' it here in the UK, so we don't hear as much on the terraces, but there is no way to police people's feelings or thoughts. If people have racist feelings then we need to tackle why, with proper integration and education - and that needs to be among all racial groups. And take a leaf out of the gay community - and claim insults - make them your own words so that they use all their power to hurt or offend.

  • Comment number 44.

    24.At 18:22 6th Jun 2012, chrism49 wrote:
    So, there are two critical concerns in world football: racism and corruption. Racism is a problem in Eastern Europe, Spain, Italy, Portugal... UEFA doesn't lift a finger;

    Having lived in England and Portugal I can assure you on the streets racism is far more evident in England.
    Maybe it does not happen at sports stadiums in England due to cctv and you amongst strangers, but within the peer groups in everyday life it is a regular occurence.

  • Comment number 45.

    Poland is a very beautiful, friendly country. Nearly everyone who goes there once wants to visit it again. People are polite, friendly and ready to help even if they do not speak English (why should they in their own country?). You can see beautiful well maintained properties and you can have nice, safe walk around beautiful cities i.e. Krakow. Many Poles work hard here in the UK, paying tax and letting some lazy Brits to stay on benefits for ages. They have got the reputation of extremely hard working people. Some Brits appreciate that but some are still very willing to spit out poison around resulting from limitless envy...

  • Comment number 46.

    Unfortunately, it always takes at least 2 generations after a sizable population of black/asian people settles in a previously 'white' country before racism starts to die down.

    The first generation of children who go to school with those of different skin colour will know instinctively that there's no real difference to them, but they may still be affected by racists attitudes of adults and, unfortunately, in many cases, parents.

    Their children, though, in general have parents who are far less racist.

    Whether you will ever totally eliminate it is something for history to judge. We can say in Britain that after 60 years (which is two and a bit generations), we have gone a long, long way down the road. But still have quite a way to go as a society.

    I wonder though whether you should judge Poland and Ukraine by how we were in the 1970s or earlier, rather than how we are now?

    Perhaps we shouldn't have had the World Cup in 1966 because racism was alive and well here then??

    I'm not condoning things in any way, merely reflecting that you don't just suddenly go from a racially pretty pure country to a multiethnic, tolerant society in 10 years. One hundred years is probably closer to the mark........

  • Comment number 47.

    Racism exists everywhere. One possible argument in favour of uefa taking tournament to east Europe is highlight the problem. Shine the light in the dark corners.
    Now mr red and Fergie homeboy on the rio Terry selection. Good to see club bias alive n well. Ferguson told Woy that Rio isn't fit enough. Also build for future. You take one experienced CB. One at the prime. One young one. And one utility. (cb/fb). You don't take rio and Terry (both experienced) because of football reasons. Simple really. No racism story on selection. Sorry BBC et al. Keep searching for that big scoop.

  • Comment number 48.

    You know what, I am so bored of the Hodgson Witchhunt and the Rio for England campaign.
    Terry is, as of now, innocent. He's also a better CB than Rio is now. Which would be why Hodgson picked him.

    Cahill leaves the squad? Why would you then select Rio when you already have Jagielka, Lescott & Jones as CB cover? How many CB's do we need for heaven's sake?

    None of Rio, Richards or Carrick were on the standby list so why would they subsequently be selected.

    Come on everyone, the football's starting on Friday. Let's talk about that for a change!!!!!!

  • Comment number 49.

    racism is institutional within football, actions speak much louder than words, tell me any other profession where a player would be banned from playing for his country because his brother has dared to make a complaint of being racially abused by a fellow professional I don't mater if rio cant play 2 games in 3 days he's still the best centre half in the country.

  • Comment number 50.

    calm, envy possibly. Looking for a good story even more possible. Just a question though if you saw a whole section of people in a football stadium doing Nazi salutes would you not feel a little sickened? What do you think people would feel if that was being directed at them and they had had family directly killed by the Nazis? Is it acceptable? Should we accept it because we have problems in this country?

  • Comment number 51.

    I am just watching live BBC news with English players in Poland signing autographs to fans. Against all odds and advise of MR Campbell and BBC jurnalists, coloured players bravely signing too. No racist abuses against them. How shocking is that!!!!!

    Prediction for tournament: MR Campbell coffins v good football games 0:1 :::))))))

    Thats what I am looking forward

  • Comment number 52.

    Message to all the football fans, true fans. I suggest you to go to Poland and you'll be safe. If not going, watch the games on tele and you'll see great organised tournament with friendly people, beautiful stadiums, smiling faces and huge enthusiasm of polish nation!! I'm confident of success!!
    ...last night almost 20.000 people ware watching training session of ..Ireland, today almost 30.000 people ware watching training session of Holland. Every single team has got great and friendly welcome... Every team says they love Poland and they love people over there and... Just go to Polish host cities and you'll see yourself.

  • Comment number 53.


    Totally agree - hope these journos will get behind England rather than coming out with all this rubbish all the time.

    The football starts in less than 48 hours - please let's concentrate on that BBC rather than these alleged scandals about nothing.

  • Comment number 54.

    this is pretty crazy considering you're the nation famed for its understating. nobody in Poland (and neither in Ukraine, i guess) claims it is not a serious issue. it is, certainly. what you miss is a perspective. racism and violent conduct on stadia in general is characteristic for a certain social group of people. 9o% of whom will not be able to afford a ticket.

    the supporters you will be seeing on the stadia will be much different to those shown on the programme, at least in poland. compare supporters from an England friendly at Wembley to those attending West Ham vs. Millwall in a cup and i believe you will also note some differences, although of perhaps a smaller scale (for which props to you). but the mechanisms are the same.

    i remember one of the articles about the WC in Germany, where it was stated the biggest fight broke out about a girl. i guess it won't be much different in Poland, and i believe in Ukraine as well. the only real problem is that of some provocations sparking conflict between Polish and Russian supporters, but if it'll go down to that (and i hope it won't), it will be mostly of the political, right-wing making, or at least sparked by politics. other than that, expect more of the scenes like those upon the arrival of the Irish. godspeed.

  • Comment number 55.

    Do people find it sad that we're discussing racism more than who will actually win the tournament?

    Whatever happened to the expected Phil McNulty blog entry that I was hoping to see here, where he would predict the winner and get it wrong, providing us with entertainment and debate in the process?

    I guess this gives us the debate, but giving light to something that really doesn't deserve any coverage (doesn't deserve to even exist) at all isn't exactly thinking positively about how the tournament is going to go.

    I prefer to keep things more light-hearted, as you can see on my blog, where I make my own predictions for how the tournament will go:

  • Comment number 56.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 57.

    Any chance you could teach the journalist who wrote this piece the difference between "number" and "amount". Thanks.

  • Comment number 58.

    I really do not understand the arguments about racism and the Ferdinand/Terry affair.
    Hodgson has said it was about football. If Ferdinand's club manager said that he doubts that Ferdinand could not play in a tournament that has games every four days, why would you select him ? Why would you want to upset the rhythem of your team, in particular your defence, every four days. I think that is what Hodgson is concerned about and I do not blame him. We have a history of taking injured players to tournaments and all of them failed.

  • Comment number 59.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 60.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 61.

    Such things may happen everywhere. The BBC must have gone through lots of archived materials to get just this one showing Nazi salutes. It is a tiny minority (a group of idiots) and you all should know about it as Poland was the country that was destroyed by The Nazis far more than others. You can find such behaviours in most countries in Europe. Please, read about the Enigma Code and the number of Polish soldiers fighting against the Nazis in the UK under British command. Please, read about the Polish Air Squadrons fighting so bravely to defeat the Nazis. I have heard from elderly people about it. Young generations have NO idea about it. Please, go to Poland and see "all the racism" over there. I think if you are hoping to find a country full of hatred and prejudice over there you may end up deeply disappointed.

  • Comment number 62.

    Ferdinand needs to get a grip - he's basically crocked, and is not able to play in an extended tournament like this. Terry is a loathesome human being with little to recommend him, except his ability to stay healthy and kick a dashed ball. That counts for more than his engaging personality or moderate temper in the cash-crazy world that is football. Terry appears also to be able to frighten other multimillionaires into playing as a team for him. If it's not fear, and is in fact 'respect' for this revolting specimen, then I see no future for a game that idolises people who put his sort in positions of power over them - and don't care about the kind of man he is.

  • Comment number 63.

    This is getting carried away now. With the Euro 2012 nearly upon us, I desperately search the internet for more England news. I come home after work and type buzz words into my google browser, "England", "Roy Hodgson". I find myself on BBC sports with headlines of racism, really? There is something horribly wrong when you subscribe to a sports section that deals with politics rather than sport. You would think racism was every where, in the very air we breath. Why not just fulfill your desires and scrap the Euro altogether and make this a full blown racism debate?

    The greatest threat to the human race is this evil enigma that is racism. We are doomed as a society.

    Will there ever be a day on BBC sport without a racism headline?

    Cheers, and Come on England!

  • Comment number 64.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 65.

    I would be quite interested to learn how the media will cover this issue.
    Surely the Polish/Ukranians will control the live TV feeds and will instruct their cameramen to focus on the action on the field to avoid national embarrassment?
    So I suspect that we may never see what is going on in the crowds until after the matches when personally taken videos are posted on the net.

  • Comment number 66.

    I've never seen England or Italy play in a tournament, where neutral locals would have a chance of being heard.
    Ferdinand and balotelli's comments have just stirred up trouble .The problem in Ukraine is on a local club level. Now the racists are sure to look for attention.
    This whole exercise sounds like a set-up to expose eastern europe.

  • Comment number 67.

    england could possible win the euro championship and a few weeks later their captain could possibly be jailed for racial abuse , one wonders if the english f.a are serious about racism in football?????????????

  • Comment number 68.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 69.

    61: Ha ha ha, I see what you did with my user name. Extremely funny.

    Archived material? That's what you're now going with? Fair enough. I'm sure it won't happen again, and hopefully we will just be concentrating on football. I still find it slightly depressing that people make excuses for this behaviour though. As you said the fans making those salutes should have known better.

  • Comment number 70.

    Bondy or fellow BBC staff, are you having a laugh or what?

    No wonder these discussions here are pathetic, you delete any comments that discuss the actual focal points of the argument and leave all the repetitive stuff to churn on for 4 or 5 pages until one of you bother to type another article to pick and choose the comments you want to keep on it.

    Unless anyone is swearing, or damn right lying (although a lot of people get away with that too), why are you deleting opinions and comments that merely discuss the common knowledge broadcasted by your employers.

  • Comment number 71.

    Blue Blanc

    JT i sunder investigation for one incident of Racism, the other things are not considered in this context.

    And so far he has not been proved Guilty, i am not sticking up for him but your comment is not a fair analysis, to compare one incident to 2 country that have a group of dedicated rascist, i seem to recall JT be hugged and congratulated in games by Black PLayers and he has black friends, so i dont think in general terms even if he did slur a racist remark he is a racist, many people say things in the heat of moment.

    My back ground of understanding different culture, for one i dont have to prove anything to you, but put it this way i have been living abroad mostly since i was 17 with more than 40 countries traveled to and i have a non white wife and mix race children.

    So your next point is......

  • Comment number 72.

    And i am very sure that there is not one single person on the planet who at some point in their lifes even under the breath made a racist comment, and that goes for all colours and creed.

    But organised planned racism is something on a very different level and needs to be stamped out and it should come in the way of innocent people paying good money to go and watch a game of football to decide to take action, and thats what this event could turn in to.

  • Comment number 73.

    hahahha...what utter nonsense

    the point is; if issue of racism was deemed serious in england the Terry allegations would have been dealt with when it happened. apart from footballing reasons what other reasons was there for this delay? im listening...

    Oh and I didnt compare them. I said racism exists everywhere and those in glass houses shouldn't throw stones. Do you know about the EDL and the BNP. are they less racist than the fans at Ukraine or Polish stadiums?

    many people say things in the heat of the moment? in a football game? wow, wow, wow. So why do we not have hundreds of such racist slurs every game?

    Really...strange, Im sure you speak many languages then. What strikes you in the report on this subject in french and spanish, german newspapers compared to the BBC?

    Last time someone said to me ' I wish you with all my soul that your country gets one point again' it was when I was at school. The substance/hatred/despise in that sentence plus the footballing errors lead me to think I am dealing with a teenager here. or someone like Terry.

  • Comment number 74.

    No surprise but Platini has not thought that through. Stopping the game has loads of implications and not on the people being racist. Racism must be dealt with strongly. Full season bans for players, clubs excluded from Europeon club and international competitions and countries unable to stage tournaments if they are not doing the right things to prevent it. We have to mean it, not just talk about it. Also it has to be real racism not something like Ferdinand being left out of the England team.

  • Comment number 75.

    Terrible end to the interview suggesting Platini has to accept responsibility for racism. That's likesaying a judge has to take responsibility for a crime committed by a criminal, UEFA are the sanctioning body here and while they might not have done enough in comparison to our admittedly high standards, they have done more to combat racism than most European football associations. There's racism in Spain and Italy but would you want to compete against a competition with those two omitted? Ban one and you've got to ban them all. How many will be left?

    The only reason for the discussion is our own high standards which are rightfully high, but banning everyone who's standards fall short is a good way of being ostracised

  • Comment number 76.

    I don't think anyone has accused Hodgson of being racist but you can't help but think if he called Rio up then the media would be all over it to a point were it made his job a lot harder than it is even now. Calling up Kelly has caused a storm but the media would have made even more out out of it if Ferdinand was called up. Even if he was called up he would only be back up anyway, amazing player but his time at International level has come and gone. We have cover at Centre back but not a lot of cover at right back so Kelly is a sound inclusion.

  • Comment number 77.

    sorry! thrashball-this time:-),
    I am not making excuses and trying to say that was acceptable. I just can not believe that the footage was so tendentious. Saying "Do not go, stay and watch TV, otherwise you may come back in a coffin" was extremely biased, knowing that Sol Campbell who said that used to play in Tottenham where a wave of racism started last year. Does he know Poland well enough to judge it? I really doubt it. I have been to Poland many times so far and I have never ever experienced any kind of racism or prejudice. Just the opposite!

  • Comment number 78.

    Havent we been here before? Germany 2006 was meant to be targeted by Nazi groups and South Africa 2010 was going to be a disaster for fans, who were supposed to be robbed 24/7 by armed thugs. None of these scare tactics worked. I think the euros will be a success.

    England have played away vs Ukraine and Poland in recent years, with a large contingent of non-white players. What happened? There was no racist chanting reported, both games passed by as they should have.

    I went over to Ukraine in 2007, went to a Dynamo Kiev game. I found Ukrainians polite and helpful, even though i am what would be classed as "asian". Sure there are racists in Ukraine but arent there racists in Britain from all backgrounds?

  • Comment number 79.

    Racism means nothing to the governing bodies like UEFA because it doesn't effect them. The board is predominately White and it not Whites who have to put up with Racist abuse. I've been to Eastern Europe three times and you do not see anyone there apart from White People. It's also a problem all over Europe.

  • Comment number 80.

    Further to my last comment, I don't care how many black friends John Terry has got if he made a racist remark he should be banned for a season or maybe booted out of football and he should never play for England again. How else will they learn? Also, I would want harmony in the squad and I wouldn't have taken both Terry and Ferdinand. However, I would have taken Ferdinand who is totally professional and NOT Terry. It's not like this is Terry's first exposure to controversy.

  • Comment number 81.

    If you have never been on the wrong end of it you would never know what it feels like. I praise and admire a lot of "white" people who fight against it cos its easy to dismiss it if you never suffered it.
    Its a deep evil and even though we can't eradicate it we must show total intolerance to it.
    UEFA (and indeed FIFA) has not shown enough will and deterrent to racist fans/grounds. Black players may be in the minority in Europe but they need protection. Its a shame that Sol Campbell made his statements but he is speaking from the heart and who can prove that what he says is untrue. I certainly won't be flying out to the tournament as i would not want to risk my life.

  • Comment number 82.

    This tournament is going to end up a right dog's dinner at this rate. Stopping games because of racism now? The media seems obsessed with racism. I'm not interested in it. I just want to enjoy the football. Stop turning football into politics. Its not your fight.
    So what if a player gets called racist names? Is that worse than Beckham getting told by fans they hope his kids get cancer? Stop this stupid racism witch hunt. Its ruining sport. They are professional players. For 30 grand a week you can say anything you like to me - Ferdinand, just let it go. Stick and stones ... . This is for politicians to sort, not football. >:(

  • Comment number 83.


    sorry your talking garbage, sorry there is a minority of idiots in the ukraine who behave badly. They in general far less racist than the BNP and EDL thankfully do not weild the power they do either.

  • Comment number 84.

    Go back to the swamp you puppet (82)

    Yes, enjoy the football but don't brush things like that under the carpet. It's easy to say for £30,000 a week+ they can say what they want but things run deeper than money.

  • Comment number 85.

    calm, If the editing of the video is true then Campbell was giving his view straight after seeing the video and we all know commenting without reflection isn't always the best thing to do. Being linked to Spurs and their link to Judaism may make him even more qualified to talk however. Spurs fans have muddied that water with some songs about Sol; think that'll be a story for Qatar though!

  • Comment number 86.

    @84 Deal with it in parliament. Talk about it on talk shows. Re educate at schools. Re educate in the work place. Use advertising campaigns, use marketing, use celebrity endorsement. Let people know via TV, let them know through the radio and newspapers. But for 90 mins can we not just forget about it and watch the football? Why does that have to be ruined? Why use something people enjoy to try and make a statement. Why ruin a tournament over one political message? I don't see a big fuss over homophobia. Or sexism in football. Or anything to tackle performance enhancing drugs. Why racism? Why is that the most important thing? How many footballers are openly gay? I'll bet they don't stop any games for homophobic chanting. This isn't about players, or football. Its about politics and its ruining sport.

  • Comment number 87.


    Bang one I have been to 10 metalist games this season the subject of the awful BBC program. Sorry I have not seen any of the behaviour that was exhibited on the program.
    The game the BBC covered was a local derby, with no segregation. The equivalent would be a Celtic rangers game, imagine the behaviour if there were no segregation there. The games in poland were all derby games too and even the guy who they could get to comment said there was some racism in football there but it was isolated incidents.
    Look there will be no incidents at Euro 2012 like there were none at 2010 or 2006.It is unfortunately the BBC doing its usual anti Uefa fifa stance. The did the same pre the world cup vote for 2018 and 22. Ukraines are not racist I live there 4 months of the year asian friends come over all the time. The bias in the documentary was staggering no balance other than dragging an none english speaking ukrainian policeman who clearly had no clue what was said to him.
    Ferdinand was not fit for the Euros his own manager said he could not play 3 games in a week, sure terry is no better but then for what ever reason Hodgson saw fit to omit one of them!
    BLeu the minority was less that 1000 fans in 40000 at the game you saw on panarma

  • Comment number 88.

    I'm not so naive to think there aren't racists in Poland and the Ukraine but what I think is obnoxious is the holier than though arguments that seem to be coming from people in this country. Anti-semitic chants happen in Holland when Ajax play do you think they should have got the Euros in 2004? How about the sectarian chants in the UK whenever Rangers play Celtic does this rule Scotland out of the Celtic joint bid for 2020? And then there's the England fans who delight in whistling through other countries national anthems a move that FIFA have called racist and who's captain stands accused of racism, and who's clubs fans chanted racist abuse against Anton Ferdinand. Spurs fans have for years been subjected to anti-semitic chants. Should this rule us out of getting other tournaments?
    The truth is every country has their idiots and football as a sport does seem to appeal to the lowest common denominator in part because many of the clubs were born to represent parts of the community and became identified with them. Poland and Ukraine deserve to host the tournament not because they have a minority of mindless racist idiots like we have in this country, but because like this country the vast majority of their populations aren't racist and just love football.

  • Comment number 89.

    so where was cambell and his disgust when arsenal fans were chanting "spurs are on there way to auschwitz, hitlers gonna gas them again"

    Would have been nice to hear his disgust at that!

  • Comment number 90.

    Someone on here condemned racism and "all its forms" and called for action. If thats the case shouldn't we just ban all international football or maybe take the lighter option and just ban all fans from the game or how about drugging the fans as they go in so they are so soporific they couldn't care less what happens in the game?

    Violence is one thing but this sort of statement is ludicrous. Should we restrict crowds to shout "Jolly good show" or "Bad luck old boy" (in whatever native tongue they speak)?

    The recent programme by the BBC on this topic proved my point. Sure they laid into innocent foreign fans because of their colour. But weren't they just laying into each other of the same "race" just moments before with equal venom? Was the motive racism or just thugs manipulated by others behind the scenes for motives all of their own.

    My money says its always the latter. And what if by some miracle there was success in eradicating "racism"? I guarantee we would get the same people winding up these thugs to attack others for being the wrong religion, wrong sex, wrong size, wrong height, wrong hair colour, wrong just about anything that makes one group of people different from another.

    We should stop wasting time on this issue. Prejudice is a bottomless pit as far as human nature is concerned. I can guarantee that 99.9% of people are in some shape or form. Concentrate on making the ground and surrounding area violence free and just get on with it. To focus on this one issue is ridiculous unless those calling for action want to re-programme these people minds. The irony is that is just another form of repression to conform to a current acceptable standard.

    Football survived, correction it prospered, because of difference. Life sometimes has to be lived with a bit of long as no one is physically injured.

  • Comment number 91.

    Ibrox Via Bristol 1985 @84

    You or I may not agree with the swamppuppet's views.

    But it asks a question, are the Euros a footballing competition or a platform for the racist or anti racist. Once the political or moral message overides the sporting event, then sport is pointless.

    Of course racism has to be questioned but in the UK we have arrived at the point where we can no longer question, without being labelled. A prime example is the definition of racism, it is far removed from what it was 10, 20, or 30 years ago, it is constantly being redefined. So far infact, most could not accurately define racism or acts of racism, today.

    I for one, hope the Euros proceed peacefully without incident and are shown to be a shining example of European football.

    It does not take away the fact that forms of racism, exists in all countries, it is eternal and can never be totally eradicated.

    There is one point that i have witnessed, the hardline approach by some anti racists, can actually encourage deeper racism. Racism will never be wiped out with a dictatorial message or viewpoint. Education and understanding are the best tools we have.

  • Comment number 92.

    "Michel Platini says the best way to tackle racism in football is for referees to stop a match whenever there is abuse." Surely this hands power to racist thugs - they can stop a game whenever they want. Better to evict those concerned ASAP, if the game needs to be held up for that, it can thereafter continue without interruption.

  • Comment number 93.


    Exactly there was no big scoop other than a past it Manure player whining he as not picked for the Euros and the BBC making more of a story than really existed. RF was not fit his manager said so end of. Ferdinand and his agent know this and want to stir trouble after all ferdinand wanted redknapp as manager. Pathetic by RF and even more so by the BBC for running the story

  • Comment number 94.

    The game in this country has done a lot to counter racism - possibly but it still exists. A couple of years ago one of my youth players was allegedly racially abused. The matter was reported to the County FA - they didn't want to know, dismissing the whole thing. Perhaps that's where the real racists in football reside - in the corridors of power. (I don't believe the County FA in question has ever had a non-white councillor and, I suspect, never will.)

  • Comment number 95.

    The thing I am more worried about is the behaviour of England squad's fans... As you surely know Krakow has been become one of the stag and hen party places where Brits are most willingly heading for due to its beauty, nightlife and still relatively cheap alcohol... Every summer weekend (it is very warm over there) the police is on standby due to street fights that Brits seem to enjoy after partying and getting completely pissed! Unfortunately I am afraid that football fans will not bring glory for the UK as they tend to behave the same way after getting drunk...What will happen after the English squad has lost(which is quite likely)? We may only surmise...

  • Comment number 96.

    The Panorama highlighted the wrong problem, not to say that the racism isn't a problem but to be fair, if your worried about racism it's Spain that you want to avoid.
    The fines they've received when England or English teams have played in Spain have been paltry and more of an invitation to reoffend than a punishment.

    The real problems in the both countries are the infrastructure, non-existent motorways, not fully ready projects in and around the stadia etc.

    The current dictatorship in Ukraine is hardly encouraging either. The decision to award the championships was a blunder, on about the same par as the one to award the WC to Qatar. FIFA and UEFA are as keen to erradicate racism as they are diving, i.e. not at all.
    If they were, they would do considerably more to sanction such behaviour...

  • Comment number 97.

    #94. Canaryboi.

    You're point would have some relevance if you could prove to me that having all non-white councillors would have helped eradicate racism in your league. Your premise seems to be based on the point that non-white's are non-racist are you certain of that?

    Or maybe you think that having an equal number of non-white/white councillors having equal amounts of racial prejudice would cancel each out?

    Either way it still seems to me racism is right in there.

  • Comment number 98.


    The point being is that representation of someone likely to have been on the receiving end of the abuse might mean that the "abused's" case would get a hearing, possibly a fair one even...

  • Comment number 99.

    "This is not because they in any way agree with the thugs making monkey noises or wearing anti semitic T-shirts. They don't. It's just they are so used to it they don't think it's a story."

    The Poles are being defensive because of the huge progress that has been made, these incidents are extremely rare now. Kick It Out were only able to report 3 incidents in the last 18 months, this is far lower than the number of incidents at EPL matches.

    The 3 matches that Panorama focused on are exceptional in their intensity, it would be the equivalent of showing the 'Old Firm' and claiming all British clubs behave the same way.

    The next point was that there are no matches being played in Lodz or Krakow.

    The programme also made no effort to show the work that is being done in Poland.
    As a person who attends matches in Poland, I have never experienced racism at a football game and the clubs are regularly promoting the campaign against racism which supporters are embracing, especially Ultras groups as they recognise the importance of supporting this issue.

  • Comment number 100.

    Blimey, It's almost like England have a pretty poor team this year qand the media are desperately trying to find any bandwaggon to jump on and fill column inches with.

    I'm sure that like 99.9% of all pre tournament 'scandals' UEFA 2012 will go ahead and be a success despite all the completely over the top scaremongering.

    Final thought. I wonder why Sol Campbell was picked to be the 'expert' for the recent panorama program?.............


Page 1 of 6

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.