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BBC Documentary Accuses Ukraine’s fans of Racism

BBC Panorama - Stadiums of Hate

The UEFA European Cup is less than a week away and Ukraine has been taking some heavy fire. First there was the Tymoshnko incident, then the extortion attempts from Ukraine’s hotels, and now, the BBC has put out a documentary portraying the fans of co-hosts Ukraine and Poland are racists. Read more to see the video.

The BBC Panaroma documentary, titled “Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate,” showed fans in the two nations giving the Nazi salute and taunting black players with monkey noises. Asian students were also shown being attacked at Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv, one of the host venues.

The reaction to the documentary in the media has largely focused on Ukraine. This follows the decisions of the families of England players Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain not to attend England’s matches in the former Soviet country due to the threat of racist assaults. Watching Panorama’s footage of violence against non-white supporters, former England captain Sol Campbell agreed:

Former England captain Sol Campbell said in the program broadcast Monday in Britain that fans should not travel to those countries because “you could end up coming back in a coffin.”

Ukraine and Poland have denounced the claims and even launched a PR battle of their own. They have assured foreign footballers and fans on Tuesday that they would be safe during the Euro 2012 tournament they will jointly host next month.

Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said: “Nobody who comes to Poland will be in any danger because of his race.

“This is not our custom, as is not pointing out similar incidents in other countries, although we know they take place. In Poland, they’re a rarity,” he told a news conference in Rome.

In Kiev, Ukraine’s foreign ministry went further, saying the allegations were a “dreamed up and mythical problem”.

“You can criticise Ukrainian society for a lot of things … but, in the practice of racism, European Union member countries are a long way ahead of Ukraine,” said ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn in comments reported by Interfax news agency.

* Content summarized from multiple sources.

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