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Racism at Euro 2012

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I have just watched the Panorama documentary on racism in Poland and Ukraine and though I would add my tuppence worth.

I can't speak for Ukraine, but I would be very surprised indeed if there was any serious problems here.

Polish society (and this was pointed out in the documentary) is tolerant and progressive, and runs counter to what goes on in (some) football matches. I have been to top flight games here and not seen an ounce of trouble. I'm not saying it doesn't happen, and certainly security is tighter than in the UK (if you think the stewards at McDiarmid are heavy handed, try arguing with a cop in full riot gear), but I think the picture painted was of the extreme end of the Polish game.

The whole "ultra" football thing is basically an embarrassment to the nation. Its despicable and pointless and stupid, but these people are in the absolute minority. These are not the guys who will be attending Euro 2012 games. The "Ultras" really are not football fans (I know this is said a lot when there is trouble, but in this case it is true). I doubt many of them could even name the members of their own national squad.

I also know black people who live here - one of them lives in my block and is a leading actress on Polish TV - who have never experienced racism, indeed many aren't sure what all the fuss is about.

The whole nation is in the process of getting seriously excited about the tournament and the prospect of showing their country off to the world, so it was a bit of a shock to watch the documentary with a couple of Poles and have the wind of enthusiasm well and truly taken from our sails!

I really hope that I am not proven wrong. I love this country and I really hope that a tiny minority don't ruin the reputation of a whole nation.

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