A new report from a Warsaw based anti-racism group documents the number of racist and discriminatory incidents in the host countries for the 2012 European Championships.
The report called ‘Hateful’ has been produced by the ‘NEVER AGAIN’ Association in cooperation with Football Against Prejudices (Ukraine), as part of the FARE network Eastern European Monitoring Centre. It covers an 18 month period from September 2009 to March 2011, detailing 195 individual incidents involving football in Poland and Ukraine.
The authors describe the numbers of incidents reported as ‘giving cause for concern’ and highlight denial of the problem as a key issue in the region.
‘It is amazing to note that even in the face of such overwhelming evidence, activists are still too often encountering a refusal to accept even the most obvious problems,’ says the report.
‘NEVER AGAIN’ spokesman Rafal Pankowski who is head of the FARE project in Eastern Europe, commented,
‘These figures are only the very tip of the iceberg but they demonstrate the scale of the problems of racism and intolerance we face in Eastern Europe. We found that hatred of Jews remains a point of principle for many fan groups in Poland, even though the Jewish is a tiny minority of the population.
‘In Ukraine we urge extreme vigilance by the authorities towards the presence of far-right groups, who we believe will be active and visible during the Euros next year.
‘However putting the sense of gloom aside, we also have evidence that our work to challenge and educate over a long period of time is coming to fruition. There have been positive signs that governmental and some regional authorities have begun to understand what needs to be done and are involved in a process of training and awareness raising.
‘We are pleased to be working with the local organising committees in both countries through the UEFA social responsibility programme for 2012.’
Of the 195 incidents reported, 133 took place in Poland and 62 in Ukraine, with the majority (105) concerning reports of fascist and far-right symbols, 36 anti- Semitic, 20 anti- black.
The rest were a mix of islamophobic, homophobic, anti- Roma and anti- disabled incidents.
Download the HATEFUL – Eastern Europe Monitoring Report [pdf 10MB] (in English)
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