The documentary in question depicts hooligans occupying Ukrainian and Polish football stadiums, giving the Nazi salute from stands and mocking black players on the pitch by using monkey calls. The documentary has spurred outrage further heightened by players in interviews stating those who might wish to see the competition in person might be better off staying home and watching on television. Family members of many players also resign to stay home for fear of violence against them.
Polish and Ukrainian officials heading the Euro 2012 went on to state the accusations made were unjust and compared footage to the same instances that could be seen “at any match in England…should fans then not to travel to London for the Olympics?”, stated Ukrainian Foreign ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn.
Poland’s interior Ministry aims to confront the BBC for its biased content and went on to state that Poland’s police forces were wholly dedicated to keeping the peace for events held within the country.
England’s former captain Sol Campbell is seen several times in the BBC documentary hurling allegations of bigotry and potentially dangerous behavior awaiting fans who visit Poland or Ukraine for the competition. “Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don’t even risk it…because you could end up coming back in a coffin.” He went on to emphasize European football’s governing body was wrong to honor Poland and Ukraine with hosting the tournament.
Stressing Poland’s zero-tolerance policy for racism and xenophobia, Polish Euro organizers reiterate an all too true observation, “As in every European country, it affects a small minority of those present at the stadiums — unfortunately, a minority that is usually loud and visible in the media.”
In what is turning out to be a public relations fiasco for Ukraine and Poland, the Euro 2012 is set to begin June 8th. Only time will tell how the competition truly plays out, for both the fans and participants.