Monday, 28 May 2012

EURO 2012 racism row to be swept under the carpet

Alone: token support from football
It's a shocking state of affairs that two of our England squad should have families who fear for their safety by going to EURO 2012.

Both Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's brothers and parents have cancelled their trips to Poland and the Ukraine citing "possible racist attack".

But the FA, who are supposed to "Say No To Racism" and seek to "Kick It Out" are impotent to do anything about it. They're hamstrung. Why? because John Terry's in the England squad.

The former captain's awaiting trial for allegedly racially abusing Anton Ferdinand during a Premier League game at Queen's Park Rangers last October and now won't take place until after  EURO 2012. District judge Howard Ribble ordered that Terry should only stand trial from July 9th because a number of Chelsea players won't be available to appear as witnesses until the end of the tournament. And another former England defender, Sol Campbell's urging fans not to even bother going to Europe's festival of international football, lest "they might return in a coffin". Stay at home is the former Tottenham and Arsenal man's advice.

Racism is rife in Ukrainian stadia and unsegregated attacks on opposition fans is commonplace.

By claiming Terry's selection was based on a footballing decision only, the Chelsea skipper can come along for the ride and escape punishment until it's safe to venture out in July, a full six weeks before the start of next season.

These FA, FIFA and UEFA initiatives are mere empty husks when push comes to shove. Nothing ever comes in the way of a tournament, even issues of basic morality - and sadly, Walcott and Oxlade-Chamberlain will have to show extra professionalism to get on with their game.

It's mere box-ticking by these governing bodies to show they do act against the scourge of racism, but if they really meant it, the FA would've dropped Terry, threatened to boycott EURO 2012 alongside other leading nations - and got the tournament moved to a country where people can live and work decently.

Sol speaks out against Ukrainian racism.
That Ukraine and Poland are racist societies is no surprise to me. Their sleepy evil backwaters for a reason. It's because throughout the last 150 years, they have expelled, tortured and murdered people who weren't indigenous. My own grandfather was born in the Ukraine and was forced to leave as a child with his family. The spotlight has fallen on Poland and Ukraine only because UEFA decided to spread their western European football message to a part of the third world on our doorstep.

If governing bodies won't stand up for their black players, perhaps black players might do it for themselves.

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