What Bracknell Thinks: Should Euro 2012 be held in 'racist' countries?By Hugh Fort
June 08, 2012
The football European Championships starts on Friday in Poland and the Ukraine amid controversy after a Panorama documentary highlighted serious problems with racism, anti-semitism and violence in the two host countries.
The programme showed fans attacking Asian supporters, making racist chants and giving Nazi salutes and suggested strongly the problem was not a new one.
We asked our panel what their reaction is to the documentary and asked which team they thought might win.
Jonathan Greenyer, an artist and author from Winkfield: “One of the best ways to help overcome racism and violence in football fans is to expose Poland and Ukraine to publicity throughout the world that criticises and ridicules their bad practices and lack of resolve to overcome the problems.
"So yes it is a good idea having Euro 2012 in Poland and Ukraine. I hope that these two countries see that they are out of touch with most of European football and do something about it.
“Football hooliganism does not occur in isolation of other social issues, all of which need addressing as these two countries emerge from their Soviet dominated pasts. Who will win? Germany.”
Terry Pearce of the Defend Our Community Services Group: “No I do not think it should have been held in Poland and the Ukraine. Our black players and fans should not be threatened by these racist thugs.
“Much work has been done in the UK over recent years to eradicate racism from our football. Until these countries do the same they should not host tournaments such as this.
“As to who will win, I would of course like to see England win, however I fancy Spain will do it.”
David Little, from Martins Heron: “Yet again, we see an example of a sporting body intent on pushing ahead with a competition in the face of a mountain of evidence as to the unsuitability of the hosts.
“That such ‘evidence’ is supported by the BBC film footage is undeniable and must question the wisdom of the choice of host nations while fully supporting the Government’s cautionary advice to ‘non-white’ traveling supporters from the UK.
“Verbal abuse, blatant racism and plain and simple thuggery aren’t new to football – we’ve suffered this in England both in and outside of football grounds before.
“But against the background of sustained and organised violence at matches in Poland and Ukraine, presently it looks like a quantum leap of faith to expect that the authorities will have either the ability or indeed the will to take control from these cowardly gangs.
The Reverend Michael Bentley, chairman of the Bracknell Forest Society: “Hooliganism, of all kinds, whether it’s racially inspired or not, is quite wrong.
“Panorama has highlighted the disgusting behaviour of a few young louts who set about some Asian people.
“This should not be tolerated in any civilised country.
“We are told that huge sums of money are spent on football so the relevant football authority should be forced to spare no expensein irradiating this kind of behaviour.
“If they fail to do so then, in my opinion, their clubs should be banned from all international matches.”
Henry Ellis, of Bracknell Aikido Club: “I don’t care who wins as long as England lose. I doubt there is much difference to the hooligans in Poland and the Ukraine to the ones we have in the UK.
“I wonder how much research it took the Panorama team to reach the conclusion that the problem is not a new one?
“I’m glad I’m too old to pay for a licence any more. I seriously believe they should have given the tournament to Afghanistan or better still Yemen.”