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Euro 2012 – Stadiums of Hate: Watch the BBC Panorama Documentary [VIDEO]

An investigate reporter from BBC’s Panorama documentary show recently spent a month in Poland and Ukraine to see whether the issue of racism and hooliganism among ultras fans is as bad as was first feared.

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 traveling football teams and their supporters be at this summer’s European festival of football?

H/T 101 Great Goals.

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  1. Luke

    June 8, 2012 at 3:26 pm

    Polish response from NBA player Michael Ansley:

  2. Jack

    June 1, 2012 at 10:53 am

    beautiful British propaganda in the Soviet style. As for me, the message is clear do not fly to the euro in 2012, spend money at the Olympics in London, where it is safer not have bombings and riots in the streets where residents set fire to their own city and rob their neighbors.. BTW 500 000 British visit Poland every year not even one have reported a racist incident in Poland… 43,426 incidents of racism were recorded in 2009 in United Kingdom where in the same year in Poland 209 cases of race related crimes were recorded…..

  3. jurajben

    May 31, 2012 at 10:58 am

    BBC should be able to produce more proffessional and balanced documentary than Mr Roger’s piece.

  4. Pete

    May 30, 2012 at 6:10 pm

    Why ae the comments not visible?

    • Paul

      May 30, 2012 at 6:29 pm

      Funny you should say that! I was having the same problems today. Are you by any chance using Firefox? I can see comments now that I’m on Safari but on Firefox it say ‘0 comments’

  5. Rorschach

    May 30, 2012 at 5:48 pm

    We are not a dangerous country. I don’t know much about Ukraine, but Poland is normal, safe and good to live place. It’s disgrace for BBC to paint such a bad picture basing on some scratches taken from a bigger picture. I could go to England and find some racist (hello, John Terry !) even in England’s squad. Or go and find graffitis or such and film that with commentary “yeah, this country is terrible, full of angry xenophobist people”. And that wouldn’t be the truth. Don’t use stereotypes, use your own heads. And shame for the BBC, lying bastards.

  6. scrumper

    May 30, 2012 at 4:39 pm

    Panorama has a habit of releasing sensational programmes shortly before a major event such as this latest one and of course the “dirty secrets about FIFA” in 2010 that scuppered England’s chances at hosting a World Cup.

    Polish hooliganism has been a known problem in Europe for many years. It didn’t just start a few months ago when a undercover reporter in plastic glasses and a red nose began sneaking around in such a dingy country. I would ask why Panorama didn’t broadcast this type of programme when UEFA were voting on where to stage the 2012 finals? Regardless of the programme’s accuracy they are not exposing anything this late in the game, simply whipping up frenzied hysteria for their own benefit.

    About a week before the London Olympics I expect Panorama will sensationally expose how the sneaky Albanian mafia has attempted to pay off judges with stolen Yugo parts to encorage favourable voting for their only contestant at the games. Perhaps someone should tell them the “freestyle swimming race for sailors” only occured at the 1896 olympics.

  7. Guy

    May 30, 2012 at 11:15 am

  8. Alex Wolcott

    May 30, 2012 at 6:22 am

    Just despicable on all levels. Sadly not surprising to me, as one side of my family is Russian and I have spent a lot of time there and in other parts of eastern Europe.

    To an extent the report is misleading. Although this vile stuff goes on routinely, fans travelling to the matches are probably going to be in no danger whatsoever at the stadia and as long as they keep to well-trafficked areas. There is just a really big difference between what the authorities are going to tolerate at a local Premiership match versus what will be allowed to go on with the world watching Euro 2012. That is the thing about this part of the world – if the authorities want something ugly or embarrassing to disappear and put the resources into it that thing will disappear. At least for a time.

    This will be the case at the World Cup 2018 as well

    Now that said, I think these until the hooligan/ultra culture is cleaned up these places DO NOT deserve the imprimatur of UEFA and FIFA in any way, shape, or form. It is disingenuous and hypocritical of the associations to claim that awarding such big events is going to “engage” the local sports culture and lead to positive changes. When all that is really going on here is an attempt to engage new markets for potential merchandising and broadcasting revenue.

  9. Petr

    May 30, 2012 at 4:56 am

    While in general I agree that the situation with ultras is less than ideal, they are not really the majority of people who will be on the stadiums or around because they really can’t afford it, so I don’t think it will be much of a problem. It’s like comparing England fans with the fans of some local 2nd league club who are ultra-rightists.
    I just don’t know how Sol Campbell became such an “authority” on the situation in Poland and Ukraine. I also think it’s kind of embarrassing that BBC can’t get the geography right on the one map it shows in its documentary.

  10. Polak

    May 30, 2012 at 3:28 am

    You are idiots.? Everything is a lie .. Austria is not a neighbor of the Polish ..

  11. Jack Tomczuk

    May 30, 2012 at 1:40 am

    UEFA made a very bold decision to select Poland and Ukraine as hosts of Euro 2012. Whether that decision was correct or not, we won’t know until the tournament is over. Even after watching the documentary, I still believe that the English media has overreacted to the situation. There are fears and worries surrounding every major international tournament. In addition, the reporter traveled to league matches, and the Euro 2012 matches may be handled differently. Even in a “safe” countries like England and Belgium, violent incidents occur (Euro ’96 and Euro 2000). UEFA cannot simply rotate between major Western European powers (England, France, and Germany) as Euro hosts because we know Spain, Portugal, Italy, Eastern Europe, and other places have problems with racist fans. Perhaps the tournament can serve as a turning point in Poland and Ukraine if racism and hooliganism is kept to a minimum at Euro 2012.

  12. Thomas

    May 30, 2012 at 12:28 am

    Shocking and gripping to watch. This has no place in today’s society – but unfortunately it’s something that exists.

    I’m not making any excuses, and this type of behavior is absolutely not OK in any way, but there are definitely sociopolitical undertones to this sort of stuff.

    Fact is, while we see the overall economies of places like Ukraine seemingly flourish, this is not something that necessarily “trickles down” (to go Reaganomics on everyone) to most people. You see a lot of right wing attitudes, specifically racist and anti-immigrant in a lot of former Soviet countries.

    Look at Germany, which by any standards is a very progressive country – you’ve got a lot of popularity for more right leaning political groups in parts of former Eastern Germany. They are still playing catchup to the prosperous West 25 years on.

    Not to mention, if you look at a lot of the racism in English Football, or England in general, and you see a general trend of a more working class group that feels disenfranchised by immigration and other changes in the modern world.

    Overall, I think the experience will be MOSTLY positive for traveling fans. One thing to note, many of these fans turning up at Polish and Ukrainian League games will NOT be in the stadiums. Though the scary part is them running about the streets instead.

    Granted UEFA has a small point saying, this can help change the attitudes in these countries. But the overall stance that action will be taken if this happens IN THE STADIUM, does raise concern.

    • Jack Tomczuk

      May 30, 2012 at 1:46 am

      One interesting theory is that right-wing politics dominate former communist countries because the people are rebelling against communism by supporting the very opposite. Millions of Ukrainans died of starvation due to the policies of Stalin and other Soviet leaders. Maybe a minority of Ukrainians are supporting facism just because it is the polar opposite of the old regime.

  13. Frill Artist

    May 30, 2012 at 12:15 am

    Why did they choose Ukraine and Poland? Take a guess. It has something to do with the almighty Euro or Dollar.

  14. jtm371

    May 29, 2012 at 11:08 pm

    why is the 2022 world cup in qatar women’s rights are restricted and their is no religious freedom.that crap in Ukraine and Poland is repulsive.this selection process is unmitigated disaster,corrupt and will never change with the people in charge.i hope any players that are discriminated against will walk off the pitch.nobody dislikes Balotelli more then me but to do the racist crap is not will be interesting how this will play out.

  15. trickybrkn

    May 29, 2012 at 10:48 pm

    This is the sort of crap that DRIVES ME NUTS. As a West Ham supporter who has walked with the away fan march into many a stadium, I never understood the idiots who shouted jew at Tottenham fans. and While Tottenham has embraced its moniker as ‘yids’, I still have an issue with using it against them. Much like I would never use the N word no matter how it used contextually. There are so many other clever ways to chant at an opponent, why prove that that you are not clever and most likely dumb by using race or religion to win you inner argument.
    The other issue with recurring at football matches is an English invention. The BNP uses football game day as it biggest recruiting tool. And I will say this about this piece, its almost like they are fighting against a problem that doesn’t in fact exist, where as in England you have a very powerful BNP and its off shoots, out all over the country harassing fellow English persons who just happen to have a different skin color. So socially I’d say the bigger problems are in England. Whereas this Euro will march in like a convention, and all the issues and problems in poland and Ukraine will be sweep under the carpet for a month…

    • iancransonsknees

      May 30, 2012 at 8:39 am

      Yes there are Muppets who follow the BNP and the EDL, but equally where these cretins appear there are equivalent numbers of people protesting against them.

      I wonder what the knobs in the Panorama video make of the Ukrainian feminist, fantastic if you ask me!

  16. Dust

    May 29, 2012 at 10:19 pm

    European football is in quite a mess at thr moment with the italian goverment seriously considering banning play for 3 years as the largest game fixing operation ever is being uncovered and if this tournament goes south because of racist attacks, I would say Platini will have a battle to keep his job.

    The English league has had its issues in the past for sure but has worked hard over the last 20 years to lead Europe in creating a great exciting universal experience for players and fans of all creeds.

    Just one example of this rnvironment compared to otjer european leagues was given earlier this month by Benoit Assou Ekotto in an interview when answering questions to quell rumors of him leaving Spurs.

    Would you return to France to play football?

    “Imagine while playing in England, you have derbies against Arsenal, Fulham, Chelsea, and West Ham if they are promoted. You have games against both Manchesters, Liverpool and even Aston Villa who are a good team. That’s already 16 big matches in the season. In France you go to Ajaccio and to have bananas thrown at you and are called a dirty black? Seriously, you play against Marseille, Lyon, Montpellier and Paris. There are four teams in France. And even if there are clubs at the moment that are trendy and could make me glad to sign there, it’d be shit to play in Ligue 1. League one does not make me dream.”

    Full interview here

    The Premier league is not perfect, but it is light years ahead of the other leagues and fastly becoming the worlds premier destination for footballers and fans, much to the chagrin of Plattini and UEFA.

    • Dust

      May 30, 2012 at 12:22 am

      I just realized I didn’t star out the cus word used by Bennie in the interview, sorry. The post was written on my iPhone

    • Guy

      May 30, 2012 at 2:31 pm

      A telling quote from BAS.

  17. BuckNasty

    May 29, 2012 at 8:51 pm

    Funny how the BBC wasn’t outraged by the Confederate flag waving at Stamford Bridge when Napoli visited.

    Still a very ugly scene tho. I can’t get over the irony of neo-Nazis in Poland. Pick up a history book ffs.

    • MNUfan1991

      May 29, 2012 at 10:37 pm

      I never quite understand neo-Nazism in the ex-Soviet bloc countries either. Hitler didn’t exactly have high regards for them in his hierarchy of racial superiority, did he?

      • Thomas

        May 30, 2012 at 12:34 am

        Not really, no. If you read some of the history, you’ll see that many of the former bloc countries had plenty of willing participants. Groups of Latvians’ were more than happy to help carry out mass executions – and were affectionately known as “Hiwis”(“Hilfswillige”) – “willing to help”.

        But yes, his general plan was to conquer Russia/Ukraine, enslave portions of the population and turn Ukraine and Western Russia into Germany’s breadbasket, while settling German’s in those areas as well.

        And the treatment of most Soviet prisoners was pretty sh**ty – as in internment in conentration camps and worked to death.

        Basically he was not a “fan” of anyone Slavic. Polish and Ukrainians both fall into this category:

      • Thomas

        May 30, 2012 at 12:37 am

        Marriage of convenience, really though.

        Hitler’s ideologies are racist, so are right wing ultras. The symbolism and pageantry are instantly recognizable, so it might be more playing on the racist ideology and “brand”, if you will.

        Or as the Ukrainian guy said, “pointing at the other fans”

  18. Andyb

    May 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

    Like before Euro96, people were going on about English hooliganism, like before the 2010 World cup, people were going on about the crime rate and how dangerous it’ll be in Africa, and now people are going on about racism is parts of the Ukraine & Poland. It won’t be as bad as programmes like this are making out, if it was, I’m sure the British government’s sports minister wouldn’t be saying its safe to go out there. I do completely understand why people are refusing to go out there though and I find the images in the programme disgusting.

    • Paul

      May 29, 2012 at 9:13 pm

      I do agree with you to an extent. Euro 96 and any other England related incident… sadly, it’s embarrassing that virtually all of our hooligans are stupid mindless yobs who have had 5 pints too many down the pub – they’re not exactly on the same level as a Nazi wannabe group. World Cup 2010 was never going to have any major incidents because the authorities made damn sure of that ahead of time. In the build-up, the people who were likely to “steal the shoes off your feet” were all herded off the streets in bulk and ‘deported’ to makeshift camps whilst official presence on the streets was dramatically raised.

      As for our government and ministers saying it’s safe to go out there to Euro 2012… where did you get that info from? Official word from them is that people of Afro-Caribbean or Asian descent are to take extra care because of racially motivated attacks. They’re also currently considering whether or not to join countries such as Spain, Germany and Austria in a political boycott. With regard to the tournament itself the Department of Culture, Media and Sport say it’s being “closely monitored” and they’re awaiting further advice from the Foreign Office.

      The absolute stand-out bit of all this is the reaction to this Panorama episode. It shows exactly what people are up against:

      Ukraine’s Foreign Minister said (and I quote!): the allegations are a “dreamed up and mythical problem”… (this is after he was made aware of the BBC undercover report).

      • Andyb

        May 29, 2012 at 9:28 pm

        Hugh Robertson the sports minister was shown saying it on sky sports news & your arguments about euro 96 and the 2010 World cup are complete crap, they were perceived to be just as dangerous as this tournament is perceived to be. I look forward to watching the euros, and not only seeing great football, but great atmospheres, unfortunately small cases will be pounced upon by the media, small cases that wouldn’t even make a local paper here.

        • Ben

          May 30, 2012 at 2:26 pm

          No Poland & Ukraine is a whole different animal, it is a lot more dangerous, Polish fans are really crazy

    • David

      May 30, 2012 at 3:47 pm

      This. Not to mention, there is a bit of mendacious journalism in this piece. Saying that there’s racism/hooliganism in Poland/Ukraine is kind of like saying that there’s black people in jail. But it doesn’t mean that all people in jail are black. There’s racism/hooliganism in England as well (and I’m not talking about the 70s-80s).

      No question that if you’re of color, certain parts of Poland/Ukraine will probably be a bit unsafe, but I would imagine many of the host cities it will not be a problem. And especially in the stadiums, as always at FIFA events, there will be lots of security and it tends to be a much different crowd for national matches compared to domestic league ones.

      It’s an interesting documentary, but it’s leaning very much to one side, which is common in journalism, unfortunately.

  19. The Gaffer

    May 29, 2012 at 8:18 pm

    I just finished watching the video, and the scenes of Polish and Ukrainian fans are disgusting. I only hope that the fans supporting their national teams are better behaved (and not anti-semitic or racist) as the supporters are of the club sides.

    If you haven’t had a chance to watch the video, watch it now. It’s definitely required viewing and something, I’m sure, that UEFA plus the Polish and Ukraine FA’s would not want you to watch.

    The Gaffer

    • Paul

      May 29, 2012 at 8:29 pm

      That’s the beauty of Panorama. Every episode is always stuff those involved would never want you to see because it leaves them looking extremely silly and they don’t have a leg to stand on when questioned about the contents of the video… thank god we’ve got an organisation like the BBC in the world is all I can say.

      • The Gaffer

        May 29, 2012 at 8:45 pm

        I agree Paul. I’ve been a fan of Panorama since watching it in the ’70s. BBC gets criticized by a lot of Brits, but I love it and find it refreshing that there are still TV companies with the balls to show controversial programs that most pay channels would avoid because of their financial motives.

        The Gaffer

  20. Evan

    May 29, 2012 at 8:08 pm

    So not only is it racism/antisemitism a huge problem in Ukraine/Poland (a bigger problem than in many other locations in Europe), but the authorities who are in charge of crowd management won’t even acknowledge that said racism in the stands exists? That’s incredible. Racism is obviously a problem in one way or another in many parts of the world. But to award one of the largest football tournaments in the world to a pair of countries that don’t seem interested in dealing with or even acknowledging the problem borders is seems woefully negligent, at the very least.

    I think it’s easy to look at the British media as sensationalist. The Daily Mail seems like its sole purpose is to scare stay-at-home moms from walking outside on a daily basis. But in this case, the sensationalism is entirely warranted. People here in America have increasingly taken to the sport in recent years, and it would be a shame to see so many people turned away because UEFA, in its all-knowing wisdom, decided to “spread the game” to a part of the world that doesn’t seem ready to welcome fans of a multicultural continent.

    • Paul

      May 29, 2012 at 8:16 pm

      The Daily Mail is frowned upon by many, many people and isn’t a reputable source for many to go to. They never exactly sing the praises of the BBC… they’re chalk and cheese.

      One thing I have to pick up on is when you said “But in this case, the sensationalism is entirely warranted”… surely you’ve just witnessed yourself that there is no sensationalism involved from the media… they’re actually reporting cold hard fact in this case. It seems that the headlines should be classed as sensationalism because it’s so unbelievable that the countries involved, the local FA’s, and UEFA (for choosing those two countries) could know all this and just let it go on… but sadly it’s really happening.

      • Evan

        May 29, 2012 at 8:26 pm

        I was trying to say that the British media’s version of the story, having been described as sensationalist by others, was in fact the truth. I agree with you that what they’re reporting is the truth.

  21. Paul

    May 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

    Now that you’ve all had the chance to watch the documentary that we’ve already digested here in the UK, would people like to continue with comments such as “overblown by the English media in my opinion…if you don’t make a fool of yourself over there nothing will happen”, as was said yesterday on the other article on this topic?

    As Balotelli said today, if he’s racially abused by anybody he will be walking off the pitch. I hope if situations do arise that everybody takes the same stance and boycott the thing. The corrupt ******** at UEFA will then have no choice but to stand up and answer questions.

    • The Gaffer

      May 29, 2012 at 7:48 pm

      Thanks Dust. The above video is the entire 30 minute BBC episode (at least, before the BBC takes it down from YouTube).

      The Gaffer

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