Campbell warns England fans they could die at Euro 2012

Sol Campbell

More claims of hooliganism, Nazi salutes and attacks on children in Ukraine and Poland

BY Jonathan Harwood LAST UPDATED AT 09:39 ON Mon 28 May 2012

CONCERNS about security at this summer's Euro 2012 football championships have been cranked up by former England defender Sol Campbell, who has urged fans not to travel to the tournament in Poland and Ukraine next month, warning that they "could end up coming home in a coffin".

He made the plea after watching footage of Eastern European hooligans to be broadcast in a BBC Panorama documentary tonight.

The producers said they "witnessed Nazi salutes from the terraces, black players being taunted with monkey chants, rampant anti-Semitism and a vicious assault on a group of Asian students".

It claims that during a game in April as many as 2,000 fans at the Metalist Kharkiv stadium gave their teams a Nazi salute. The fans later told reporters were told they did so because Hitler hated "Jews and blacks". The police tried to claim that the fans were merely "pointing" at each other.

There are more claims of orchestrated violence, this time involving children, in the Financial Times. "A football match for nine-year-olds is usually only of interest to the parents of those involved. Unless, that is, the game is taking place in Poland, where hooligans have in recent months attacked parents and ripped shirts off children for wearing the wrong team colours," says the paper.

"After a February attack, the coach of one junior team told local reporters that 15 'bandits' from the rival Arka Gdynia, some with their faces covered, had attacked his players and their parents for wearing Lechia (Gdansk) team colours."

Despite the scare stories Uefa insists that it is working with both Poland and Ukraine to ensure the safety of the teams and their fans, while the two host countries insist fears of race attacks have been greatly exaggerated.

The FT notes that the fans' behaviour is not that alien. "In many ways Polish and Ukrainian supporters are where their west European counterparts were a decade or two ago - not all that long ago English hooligans would make monkey noises when black players touched the ball," it notes.

But the families of two England players, Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain, have already announced that they will not be travelling to the tournament because they are concerned about racism.

And it is not just the British media who are concerned. German international broadcaster Deutsche Welle carried a dispatch from Lviv, where Germany will play their opening game of the tournament. "Extremists in Lviv say foreigners aren't really welcome at this summer's European championships," it notes, adding that there were running battles in the streets when Borussia Dortmund visited two years ago. · 

Disqus - noscript

ah a truly multi racist society

It beggars belief that UEFA, in complete disregard for the sfaety of some players and fans, refuses to change the venue of this EURO 2012.Really the players should consider a boycott. If America had been participating in this tournament you could be sure that Jewish pressure would be brought to bear and there would be a boycott. To down play the very real threats made by these Ukranian and Polish thugs shows how irresponsible and selfish UEFA is.

Sounds like the Poles have learnt well from the "Kings of Hooliganism" - The English. The comments that Polish society is racist, being made by un-informed people is itself racist. What does Jewish pressure have to do with this anyway? Are you one of those people who think that the Jews run the world?

Ignorant that you are of your own backyard. Look at what is going on in the UK where antisemitism is current. By the way, I was personally assaulted by black hooligans for walking in the street with a ,,sister,,.

beautiful British propaganda in the Soviet style. As for me, the message is clear do not fly to the euro in 2012, spend money at the Olympics in London, where it is safer not have bombings and riots in the streets where residents set fire to their own city and rob their neighbors.. BTW 500 000 British visit Poland every year not even one have reported a racist incident in Poland... 43,426 incidents of racism were recorded in 2009 in United Kingdom where in the same year in Poland 209 cases of race related crimes were recorded.....

Well Jack you got one point, but don't forget that the UK got much more imigrants than Poland to start with. And it's not a secret that  polish fotball supporters often are involved with violent behavior,hooliganism and rasism.   

For further concise, balanced comment and analysis on the week's news, try The Week magazine. Subscribe today and get 6 issues completely free.