UEFA calls for clampdown on racism

UEFA calls for mayors to urgently act on racism spikes from fans.

Soccer ball in a net. Picture: sxc.hu.

KRAKOW - UEFA has written to the mayors of Polish and Ukrainian cities hosting Euro 2012 training sessions to ask for an increased police presence to avoid racist behaviour from fans.

Some members of the Netherlands squad complained of hearing monkey noises at an open training session at Wisla Krakow's stadium last week when tens of thousands of Poles turned up to watch.

"UEFA...asks that all effective and necessary measures - including an increased police presence - be implemented to prevent any display of discriminatory or racist behaviour at such public sessions," a UEFA statement said on Monday.

"UEFA has also requested that the authorities ensure that any person found to be engaging in racist behaviour be immediately ejected from the stadium and its vicinity, and that criminal proceedings be launched against such individuals."

A letter was also sent to the Polish sports minister Joanna Mucha asking for the full support of the authorities.

UEFA said there had only been this one isolated incident but Italian and English media reports said a group of Spain fans racially abused Italy's Mario Balotelli during Sunday's game in Gdansk. Neither team have commented.

The issue of racism dominated the build-up to the co-hosted tournament with a BBC documentary suggesting bigotry was widespread among some fan groups.

Both Poland and Ukraine denied the allegations.