Monday, 28 May 2012

Racism must be confronted head-on at Euro 2012

An Iraq war protester managed to evade heavy security measures at the Law Courts today to launch himself at Tony Blair, as the former British prime minister was giving evidence to the Leveson Inquiry.
So I don't see much chance of Uefa and the Polish and Ukrainian authorities preventing racist outrages by whole gangs of far-Right football hooligans during the forthcoming Euro 2012 contest.
Policing stadiums will be tough enough but providing 24-hour protection to travelling supporters is a tall order.
Former England captain Sol Campbell tells BBC TV's Panorama programme, English fans should stay home - and the families of black soccer stars Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain are doing just that.
Campbell says Poland and Ukraine should never have been awarded the competition in the first place.
But that would have been tantamount to saying rather than tackle racism wherever it raises its ugly head, we should skirt round it.
This would be an insult to those who struggled against injustice in sport from South Africa to the Deep South.
None of which is to say the English soccer scene is stainless but the Kick It Out campaign and other initiatives show we recognise there is no place for racism in sport.
We expect the authorities in Poland and Ukraine to act decisively to ensure the safety of our fans. Referees shouldn't hesitate to call teams off the park if that's what it takes to restore order; not just in the cases of physical violence in the stands but abusive chants and gestures too.

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What do you think? GC