Belfast Telegraph

Sol scores with his Euro racism warning

By Gail Walker

Well done to Sol Campbell for advising fans to stay home for the forthcoming European championship due to the entrenched nature of racism and violence in Poland and the Ukraine.

BBC's Panorama programme showed pretty convincing footage of domestic games in both countries, with fans resorting to Sieg Heils, monkey chants against black players, anti-Semitism and all-round thuggery.

And if you think that's just the usual Panaroma tactic of smothering a big forthcoming event in a rich sauce of cant, sensationalism and hypocrisy, then listen to the Government.

They advise those of Afro-Carribbean and Asian descent to take extra care in the Ukraine because of the risk of racially-motivated attacks. It takes a bit of guts to stand up amid all the flag-waving, commercially-inspired patriotism, and all-round "here comes the footie, nothing else matters" moral blindness, for Sol Campbell to puncture the huge Euro balloon.

Of course, the Euros will go ahead no matter what. Too much has been invested to start cavilling about racism now. But it's good to be reminded that there are more important things than "the beautiful game".

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