A Dutch View on the Racism in Krakow
I found this on the Radio Nederland web site.
There were loud protests by disappointed Krakow football fans at the start of Holland’s training session on Wednesday afternoon. They voiced their frustration at the fact that Krakow was passed up by UEFA three years ago when it chose four Polish cities to host the 2012 European Championship.
The fans had put up a large banner with a no-entry sign painted on the tournament emblem. After about 15 minutes, security staff intervened, putting a stop to the whistles and chanting. The slogans reportedly included racist abuse, prompting the Dutch to continue their training to the other side of the pitch.
It was the only Holland training session at the Wisla Krakow stadium open to the public. Tickets were free and the stands were filled in no time. Hard-core fans flocked to the stadium’s west end and immediately made their presence felt.
There’s still deep resentment in Krakow over the fact that the city failed to be chosen as one of the four Polish cities to host the prestigious Euro 2012 matches. Many can’t understand why Poland’s former capital and the county’s most popular tourist destination was ignored by UEFA.
Most suspect political reasons. They point to the traditional rivalry between the current capital Warsaw and the countries “most beautiful” city. Or they blame Krakow politicians for a weak bid and a strong “anti-football” lobby, supported by a large section of the population who are fed up with football-related violence and fear the worst when large numbers of foreign fans descend on the city.
Krakow is known for its violent confrontations between the firms of Cracovia and Wisla Krakow, who’re locked in a long-running brutal war. National and local authorities are doing all they can to suppress hooliganism and racism during the Euros. They see the event as a great opportunity to promote their country. They are proud that as many as 13 out of the 16 Euro 2012 finalists are putting up their base camps in Poland, and not in co-host Ukraine. Three of these squads – Holland, England and Italy – have opted for Krakow as their home base.
I think it shows that UEFA didn’t really organise the competition properly. Just imagine if we organised a big football tournament and didn’t play a match in Birmingham, Liverpool or Manchester.
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