With just days to go before the kick-off of the Euro 2012 championships, Panorama reveals shocking new evidence of racist violence and anti-semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukrainian football and asks whether tournament organiser UEFA should have chosen both nations to host the prestigious event.
Reporter Chris Rogers witnesses a group of Asian fans being attacked on the terraces of a Ukrainian premier league match and hears anti-Semitic chanting at games in Poland. And with exclusive access to a far right group in Ukraine which recruits and trains football hooligans to attack foreigners, Panorama asks: how safe will travelling football teams and their supporters be at this summer's European festival of football?
Police detain hooligans after Stockholm clash
3 Aug 12
Several clashes between supporters of Stockholm football team AIK and Polish team Lech Poznan were reported on Thursday evening in the capital after the Swedish side beat the Poles 3-0 in a European league qualifier. The brawling had already begun before the game with clashes between supporters in the Stockholm district of Kungsholmen, and continued at the Råsunda stadium where the game took place, according to police.
Police told news agency TT that they didn’t have enough manpower to start with. “We had too small a number of officers at the beginning but it turned out alright after we called in an extra 50 or so,” said Per Wetterlind of the Stockholm police to TT.
After the game, the brawling continued to flare up in different parts of central Stockholm. After twelve hours of clashes in the capital, the police finally had enough, rounded up some 50 Polish supporters and dropped them in the Stockholm suburb of Huddinge in the hope to cool the situation down. “It is fairly obvious that all these people really were keen to fight,” said Anders Jönsson of the local police to daily Dagens Nyheter (DN) stressing that both sides were equally as bad.
According to police, several people were injured in the brawling, a handful were arrested on suspicion of rioting and aggravated assault and some 30 were taken into custody.
Bloody hell - how could they not be prepared for the Poznan hooligans?
'Teenage footballers subjected to racial abuse during match in Leicester '
November 07, 2012
Police are investigating allegations that teenage footballers were racially abused by opposition supporters during a match. Leicester Nirvana FC claims some spectators made monkey noises and offensive gestures during an under-15s game at Blaby and Whetstone BC FC. The club also said some home team supporters made racist comments and invaded the pitch, threatening violence, after the game, which the visitors won 4-3.
Leicester Nirvana chairman Kirk Master, who was not at the match – played on October 21 – was told about the alleged incident by players, coaches and parents. He said: "The matters outlined to me are the most graphic I have been made aware of for many years at a junior level. I am disgusted. We demand firm and swift action from the FA. We want some immediate action taken. The club has held an emergency meeting to discuss the matter."
The Leicester Nirvana team was mainly made up of black and Asian youngsters. The club, many of whose players come from Highfields and St Matthew's, in Leicester, has 300 members and draws players from a wide variety of backgrounds.
Mr Master said the club would "not allow racist behaviour to occur against our players, parents or any other black and minority ethnic person citywide". He is due to hold meetings with the football authorities in Leicester and is seeking assurances the matter will be dealt with quickly and transparently.
The club is being supported by the Society of Black Lawyers. Spokesman, barrister David Neita, said: "Blaby and Whetstone should be suspended from the FA pending a full inquiry due to the seriousness of these allegations. We will be making a full report to the minister of sport after meeting Nirvana FC."
Keith Murdoch, chief executive of Leicestershire and Rutland County FA, said no action could be taken until a full investigation had been carried out. He said: "These are serious allegations coming from a local under-15s match. There is an ongoing investigation and we are still gathering information from both clubs and the referee." Mr Murdoch said the FA would be co-operating with the police investigation. "As yet, it is not possible to put a timescale on the investigation we are conducting," he said.
A spokesman at the headquarters of the English FA, at Wembley, said the national body was aware of the incident but it was an issue with the local FA to deal with. He said wider issues would be considered if the FA received representations from the Society of Black Lawyers.
A spokesman for Blaby and Whetstone Boys Club said: "We are aware of an allegation against our partner club, Blaby and Whetstone Youth Football, concerning issues of racism at a recent game. Leicestershire and Rutland County Football Association has contacted us and until such time as its investigations are complete, we are unable to comment further, apart from saying we will co-operate fully. As an organisation, we are fully committed to supporting all efforts to eliminate racism within society."
A spokesman for Leicestershire Police said: "We have received a report relating to a racist incident at a football match in Whetstone on October 21. Inquiries are ongoing."
Beitar club house torched in suspected protest over Muslim signings
8 February 2013
A suspected arson attack damaged the main club house of the Israeli Premier League side Beitar Jerusalem on Friday, a day after four fans were charged in court in connection with racist incitement against the team's recruitment of Muslim players, police said.
A police spokesman, Micky Rosenfeld, said the fire, which caused no injuries, caused "extensive damage" to the premises next to the team's main training grounds. Television footage showed trophies and other memorabilia were destroyed. "Initial findings show the blaze was caused by a number of suspects," Rosenfeld said, and added that police were investigating a possible link to protests over the team's signing up of two Chechen Muslim players last month.
The mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, said the police would take "a heavy hand to put an end to this issue", and praised the club for what he saw as steps toward "fighting racism and violence".
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