Friday, June 08, 2012


UEFA are poised to launch an investigation into the alleged racial abuse suffered by members of the Holland team during a training session in Krakow. 

Members of Bert van Marwijk's European Championship squad were allegedly subjected to monkey chants during an open training session on Wednesday, with captain Mark van Bommel branding the incident 'a real disgrace'. 

Uefa confirmed that there were "isolated incidents of racist chanting" aimed at Netherlands players during an open training session. 

UEFA confirmed on Thursday they had 'no plans' to launch a probe into events at the Stadion Miejski - the home of Wisla Krakow - because the Dutch FA had told them they 'did not believe the abuse was racially motivated'.

But in an apparent U-turn, European football's governing body acknowledged Holland's black players were the victims of racist abuse.

A statement read: 'UEFA has now been made aware that there were some isolated incidents of racist chanting that occurred at the open training session of the Dutch team.

Should such behaviour happen at further training sessions, UEFA would evaluate the operational measures to be taken to protect the players.
'UEFA has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discriminatory behaviour and has given the power to referees to stop matches in case of any repeated racist behaviour.'

The Dutch, like England and Italy, have chosen the picturesque city of Krakow as their base for Euro 2012 and on Wednesday they opened the doors to the public - just as England have today when they invite 3,500 ticketed spectators to watch their session at the Hutnik Stadium.

Holland are using Wisla Krakow's ground and among the 25,000 spectators who attended their session was a group of protesters, keen to express how unhappy they were that a foreign team were using their facilities at the Miejski Stadium.

It was when the Dutch players went on a two-lap warm-up jog that the racist abuse occurred, with witnesses claiming around 500 fans subjected Holland's black squad members to monkey chants. The abuse was said to have been even louder on their second circuit. 

This happened just a day after the Holland squad visited former Nazi concentration camp in Auschwitz

Van Bommel responded by telling his team-mates to pick up their kit and move to the other end of the pitch to continue their warm-up. 

A report appeared in the respected Dutch daily newspaper De Telegraaf, which UEFA officials responded to by attempting to deny the abuse had happened.

Holland officials are keen to avoid a diplomatic incident so soon after arriving for Euro 2012 were also nervous about discussing the issue.

But Van Bommel, 35, did not hold back during a press conference with the Dutch media.

'It is a real disgrace, especially after getting back from Auschwitz, that you are confronted with this,' the PSV Eindhoven midfielder said.

'We will take it up with UEFA and, if it happens at matches, we will talk to the referee and ask him to take us off the field.'

Not all the Dutch journalists heard the chanting and, having failed to report it, questioned Van Bommel. 'You need to open your ears,' he said. 'If you did hear it and you don't want to hear it, that's even worse.'


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