With days to go before the kick-off of the Euro 2012 championships, Panorama reveals evidence of racist violence and anti-semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukrainian football.
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In 11 days' time, Europe's biggest festival of football, kicks off.
But just how safe will some fans be? Bloody hell.
I am concerned that they will be targeted by racists and fascists
and antisemites in Poland and in the Ukraine. The European
football's governing body says it has zero tolerance.
I think this is embarrassing and it embarrasses the whole country.
Panorama spends a month inside Poland and the Ukraine. We see the
fans who routinely abuse. What kind of things do they say?
Bad words. Like (BLEEP). The terraces where the fans give
fascist salutes. The ground where the supporters are beaten for the
colour of their skin. We were supporting the whole team.
The families of two black England players have already said they
won't go. Tonight a former captain condemns
UEFA's choice of host nations. Would you recommend families to
travel to Euro 2012? No chance. Stay at home. Watch it on TV. Don't
even risk it. UEFA has a vision, a vision of a
united European family of football. This June, the family of football
has chosen to pay a visit to Eastern Europe.
Poland, Europe. But with 100 years of footballing
history, and they have some of the most passionate fans in the world.
They have the stadiums, the speck kal, but they have a big problem, a
reputation for violence and racism. So, does the family of football,
really know what it is letting itself in for? I've spent a month
watching league matches across these two countries to find out.
My first stop.is Widzew, a city the size of Birmingham. It is not a
host city for Euro 2012, but I've been told to see the dark heart of
Polish football, I should come and watch the Widzew Derby.
LKS, versus Widzew. For this match, the visiting fans have been banned
from the LKS stadium. It is an hour before kick-off, the fans start
running battles with the police who just want to get them into the
stadium. It seems that a lot of them
definitely came here to fight, but there are no away fans, they are
banned from the match that turned on the police.
They have started to target us for a little while there, throwing
stones and fire crackers. It seems like anyone is a target if you are
Every team in Poland has a hard- core of supporters. They call
themselves Ultras. They create noise and atmosphere at the games,
and they love to abuse the opposition.
At this match, I was shocked to hear the terraces chanting that the
None of the Ultras would talk to me, but I did speak to a fan who did
not join in the chanting. Tell me about the antiSemitic chanting,
what is that about? They don't think that they insult Jewish
people, they just use it as a weapon to attack the opposite fans
and the opposite club. But they must think badly of Jews
if they think this is an insult? Yeah, they know this is an insult.
In Widzew, two teams trade the word "Jew" as an insult, both on the
pitch and in a tat for tat graffiti wall. All this in a city, where
during the Second World War, the Nazis all but exterminated its
230,000 Jews, for some football fans, the word Jew is now used for
someone who deserves to be defeated and even killed.
I lived in Widzew. I was shocked on the main street where I saw that
Jews should be assigned to the gas. The idea that people walked past
this every day and let that happen, it was difficult for me.
Jonathan Ornstein has lived here for many years. He believes that
football hooligans are yet to catch up with wider Polish sod. --
society. I think they are looking to
demonise the other team. The imagery that they are using is the
Jewish talk. I think it embarrasses the whole country.
My next step was Warsaw, the Polish capital and host city for Euro 2012.
This is where the opening ceremony is to take place. Where the fans
from all across Europe will be welcomed.
Warsaw's biggest team is Legia. They have one of the largest
followings in the Polish Premiership.
However, this particular branch of the family of football also has a
skeleton in the closet. If you're arriving here by train,
this is the greeting you'll get. Further down the platform, it does
not say "welcome to Warsaw" it says "welcome to hell" This graffiti
celebrates the White Legion. One of many violent groups organised
around football. Across the city they spray devotion to their team
and to their politics. What we have here is racist
graffiti. It also contains a very important
racist symbol, the so-called Celtic cross, the white power sign. This
symbol you can see often during the matches.
Jacek Purski's work is supported by UEFA to monitor and combat racism
among the fans. It is illegal to display such hate
symbols during the football matches. According to the Polish law,
putting this symbol at this wall is illegal. It promise oats fascism,
it promise oats racism. In Widzew, I had seen racist
banners pledging white pride and heard fans citing terms and monkey
sounds on the pitch. Are you familiar with the monkey
sounds? Yeah, but you try to ignore it. Many people are doing it.. I
have problems with the players on the field. I try not to focus on it
and try to go on my way. What sort of things do they say to
you? Bad words like you are a (BLEEP) monkey or something like
that. Is there a system to go to? Someone
to report it to? The only person to report it is the referee, he does
not do anything. He will just say to keep going. Racist symbols and
antiSemitic chants have been a part of football for years. There are no
official figures but a report vealed that in 2010, there were 133
serious hate rimes inside the stadiums.
-- hate crimes. Jacek Purski was a co-author who
documented the offensive chants Today he's helping Euro 2012
stewards learn to recognise racism. It can be an uphill struing until a
country where ethnic and religious minorities are all but invisible.
-- it can be an uphill struggle. A lot of work has been done. The
situation is going in a good direction. Of course, we hope to
have a peaceful, non-racist Euro 2012, but still around the league
matches, from time to time, some incidents occur.
Incidents like one that took place here. This is Rzeszow, a small town
in Southern Poland. Two years ago, fans displayed a
huge banner declaring "death to hook noses" at the time it went
unpunish, though a year later, the Polish FA fined the club and a
senior official lost his job. Even so, we filmed a repeat performance
over a month ago. This time a banner declared the presence of the
antiJew front. Although nothing was done in the
match, the police later arrested the man holding the banner. The
club was fined �1,000. The supporters were give an two-match
ban. There's been a push as of late,
obviously before the Euro, they don't want Poland to be embarrassed.
We will see what happens with that, but I think there needs to be a
deeper, more pro-longed effort to eradicate not just anti Semitism,
but xenophobia. That is part of a larger issue here.
This is Krakow, a city that is football crazy.
This medieval city is to be home to the England squad during Euro 2012.
It's another town where hooligans have hi-jacked the word "Jew."
Tonight it is the Krakow Derby, Wisla vs Cracovia.
Also known as the Holy War, for the intense rivalry between the two
takes. -- teams.
Just a few seats away from mine, I spot two which is which is fans.
Both are wearing what look like anti Semitic T-shirts. Polish
Ultras were not willing to speak on camera. I secretly filmed a chat at
halt. So, this is a Pole
Polish club? Your club? Yesment yes. I got it.
Soon, the war of words turned into a war of missiles. The opposing
hooligans vented their anger on the Watching the match was Nick Lowles
from Hope Not Hate. An antiracist monitoring group. He had flown out
to see what the British fans could expect from Poland.
As we saw tonight, people had T- shirts on, they were not confronted
by stewards. My concern is what happens outside of the stadium. The
positive thing with English football is that increasing numbers
of Asian fans are travelling to support England. I'm concerned that
they will be targeted by racists and fascists and antisemites in
Poland and the Ukraine. It is not just Eastern Europe where
racism in football is an issue. Charges of racism has hit the
headlines across the country. Especially in the UK.
John Terry is to go to trial facing ariesism remark. Whatever the
outcome, one man who has faced racism at first-hand is another
former England captain, Sol Campbell. I showed him our footage,
to see how the countries come paired.
It is incredible how organised it All the chants of killing Jews it
is sickening to the core. I'm glad it is not like that in England. I
know it was at one stage, but in the 21 century, this is on another
Leaving Poland behind, I wondered if what I found in Ukraine could
This is the capital, Kiev. It is where the Euro 2012 finals are
going to be played. Ukraine looks ready to host the euros, but were
their fans ready to welcome waves of visitors from all across Europe?
I went to a Premier League match, UEFA say they have zero tolerance
of racism on the terraces. Yet these distant cousins in the family
of football seemed to have zero tolerance for anyone who was not
white. While police and stewards look on, a relative of one black
That is just so sad. It is incredible. The thing about it is
that it is little kids, girls and boys. As recently as 2008, Sol
Campbell was racially abused at a Premiership match. Those fans were
arrested and prosecuted, but at this match in Ukraine police did
nothing. I cannot believe it, it just makes me feel sick, and I just
feel empty. I feel hurtful, because I know what those guys are going
through. I would hate to live in a place like that, just going in to
play a football game, you know, being subjected to all this abuse,
and no-one is doing anything about Kharkiv, Ukraine's second city and
This is the Metalist Stadium, soon to host Portuguese, Dutch, Danish
What went on here I had only seen in films about the Second World War.
Massed ranks, all doing a Nazi salute.
During the first half, I saw men, women, girls and boys of all ages,
giving the Hitler salute and shouting Sieg Heil. I have spoken
to a few have the fans here, and they have confirmed that they are
saying Sieg Heil because Hitler hated Jews and blacks, and that is
With Euro 2012 just around the corner, what were the police
planning to do about this? How concerned are you about the
possibility of racist displays inside the Metalist Stadium?
TRANSLATION: Regarding Kharkiv and the whole of the Ukraine, up until
now, we have not had any such incidents. There have been on, and
I hope that during the Euro 2012 Championship we will not have any.
In fact, Ukrainian fans are very friendly. At the Metalist Stadium,
I saw approximately 2000 people do the Nazi salute to their team.
no, it is not a Nazi salute. It is... They were pointing in the
direction of the opponents, so it looked like they were pointing with
the right hand to the fans, kind of attracting attention to themselves.
So it is not Nazi. Sieg Heil! Perhaps something had been lost in
translation. I was sure of what I had seen, football fans doing Nazi
salutes. Across town, I met up with a football fanatic who is also part
of a far-right organisation. hide in his place in the market,
nobody can find us, any cops, any government guys. By Dean did not
have any time for UEFA's vision of a multicultural family of football.
-- Vadym. The Celtic cross, show. It is not founded today because we
have a match, just people relaxing. Does it annoy you if you have a
black player playing for you? Do The whole bar was a shrine to far-
right extremism. They had Celtic crosses, swastikas and white power
symbols. There was also worked and help they -- there was also an
unhealthy obsession with Nazi Germany, but it was harder to pin
down exactly what Vadym believed in. Are you a Nazi? Do you support some
Vadym is a recruiter for a group called Patriot of Ukraine. This is
a Patriot video, where they claim to be running out illegal
Do you recruit from the stands? Do you find new members? Oh, yeah!
could see why football terraces could be fertile recruiting grounds
for the Patriots. Since the break- up of the Soviet Union, right-wing
politics and hooliganism have gone At this match, I spotted two fans
with Patriot logos on their T- shirts. It was not long before the
It was a gesture I would see at I had another appointment with the
Patriots, this time to see how they took football hooligans and trained
We are meeting a trainer in the use You keep it secret?
I had seen videos of Patriot events where they had rallied hundreds of
supporters, but at this training session there were just a handful
There are no reliable figures for Patriot membership, but they do
have a presence in all the Euro What makes them dangerous is not
only their extreme right-wing views, but they're clearly ready for
British government advice for Euro 2012 is for black or Asian fans to
take extra care in Ukraine because of the possibility of racist
Officially, Patriots say they do not condone attacks on foreigners,
but when I spoke to one recruit, that did not sound so clear cut.
TRANSLATION: We are learning to shoot, and we are learning tactical
combat, and military preparation, and we can take all this training
onto the streets. I can also add, because my face is hidden, that
these skills have already been used I have no way of knowing how much
of what they say is just bluster, but earlier this month in the host
city of Kharkiv, there were two stabbings, and both victims were
Nigerian students. Last month, UEFA responded to the
possibility of racist attacks. They announced funding for so-called
inclusivity zones, secure Areas outside of stadiums where
supporters of all backgrounds can feel safe. But have they done
enough to combat racism before the tournament begins? We asked for an
interview with Michel Platini, the president of UEFA, but we were told
that he was too busy to speak to us. However, in a statement, UEFA told
Back at the Metalist Stadium in Kharkiv, it was the final game of
the season. Of the pitch, it was said to be the most violent. This
is one of the stadiums that will be hosting matches in Euro 2012.
Tonight, it is hosting a match between two of the country's
biggest teams. Now, the local police have told me they have never
seen any evidence of racism on Vadym from the Patriots took me
into one of the most volatile parts of the stadium, the Ultras' stand.
Why are you in competition with that side of the stadium? Bloody
hell! It was not long before it lived up
Bloody hell! I am getting out of here!
Things went from bad to worse. With no segregation in the stadium,
scuffles are breaking out between rival fans all over. Suddenly, at
the Metalist hooligans spotted a new target, a small group of their
Only these supporters were not Innocent people, innocent, look at
them, it is just gangland! And no- one is helping, no police is
helping. Look at that. Look at That is absolutely disgusting. I
cannot believe that. No-one has come... At last, someone is helping
him. It is lawless! It is lawless! I want to cry for them. I want to
cry for them, because someone is living there, thinking, is someone
going to kill me today because of my colour? These Indian students
have been studying in Ukraine for the last few years. They sat in the
family section, thinking it would be safe. Ukrainian football does
find clubs when fans misbehave, but it set was unable to tell us if any
action had been taken over this incident. At Euro 2012, UEFA say
the Ukrainians will have primary So it was very planned? They
trapped you? Gosh. Are the police going to help you to get home
safely? They are not going to help Do you think UEFA were wrong, then,
to choose Poland and Ukraine? think they were wrong, because what
they should say is that, until we see a massive improvement, that you
have sorted that, you're never going to get his tournament. You do
not deserve these prestigious tournaments in your country. Would
you recommend families to travel to Euro 2012? No chance. Stay at home,
watch it on TV. Don't even risk it, because you could end up coming
back in a coffin. UEFA say that the legacy of Euro 2012 will be to help
With just days to go before the kick-off of the Euro 2012 championships, Panorama reveals shocking new evidence of racist violence and anti-semitism at the heart of Polish and Ukrainian football and asks whether tournament organiser UEFA should have chosen both nations to host the prestigious event.
Reporter Chris Rogers witnesses a group of Asian fans being attacked on the terraces of a Ukrainian premier league match and hears anti-Semitic chanting at games in Poland. And with exclusive access to a far right group in Ukraine which recruits and trains football hooligans to attack foreigners, Panorama asks: how safe will travelling football teams and their supporters be at this summer's European festival of football?