What kind of sports event is it when the star athletes are telling fans not to go? Monday, a special report from BBC1's Panorama explored the racism in the soccer cultures of Poland and Ukraine, where the Euro 2012 soccer tournament will be held next week. The program showed Polish and Ukrainian fans beating up Asian fans and slurring opposing teams as "Jews."
The full 30-minute report is full of shocking moments. In Ukraine, there's one scene showing fans making monkey sounds at black players. There's also one where a white supremacist group admits it embraces "some aspects" of Nazism, like getting rid of non-Ukrainians. The group also happens to train its members in knife fighting. Polish slogans include "Jews to the gas" or "death to hook noses." ...
Se the whole story here, courtesy of The Atlantic.
Kicking Back Comments: I have to admit that this is pretty disturbing if true to the extent detailed in the article and BBC video, which I have only seen a couple of short clips of. Again as I said the other day, where is FIFA? There would seem to me many ways to inspect for these acts (i.e. put delegates in the crowd), and ample ways to deal with it (i.e. do not allow these countries to host). So why not do it?
In this, if true, and by allowing it to occur, in my opinion way FIFA is condoning racism by turning a blind eye to it.
Now, what I also found interesting in a disturbing kind of way were a couple of the comments from the readers.
First, from DMG79:It's UEFA the European football body that organizes the European Championships not FIFA. If you're going to criticize an organization for their decisions at least get the correct organization. FIFA has absolutely no say in the host country for the Euro's and did not select Poland and Ukraine, UEFA did. Don't you fact check?
Why are we passing the buck here? Yes UEFA organizes the tournament (and in my estimation should be doing something as well), but FIFA is the governing body. If FIFA did not want to have the Euros, they would stop UEFA. Look at what they are going to the SFA right now. Do we really think FIFA has no responsibility here?
Second, from LaurelhurstLiberal:FIFA referees are allowed to stop or cancel games for racist outbursts from fans, we'll see if it happens.
Talk about buck passing. While I'll agree, and the Terry incident demonstrated this, referees need to be aware of such incidents INSIDE THE FIELD and deal with them, only a fool would think a referee would abandon a match for something some pinhead does in section 204, row 7, seat 12, 13, 14, and 15. This is ultimate buck passing to think that a referee is the authority on stopping racism in the stadium.
We are a link in the chain to be sure, but leadership starts at the top.