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FIFPro welcomes the request made by UEFA today, asking the mayors of the Polish and Ukrainian cities hosting Euro 2012 matches and training sessions for increased police presence in order to avoid racist behaviour from so called football fans.


During the past week, there have been some disturbing incidents. Dutch players heard monkey chants from spectators during a training session in Kraków, Poland last Wednesday, while on Friday Russian fans aimed racist insults at Czech player Theodore Gebre Selassie during the match between Russia and the Czech Republic in Wroclaw, Poland.  Furthermore Italian and English media reported incidents of Spanish spectators racially abusing Italy’s Mario Balotelli during Sunday’s game between Spain and Italy in Gdansk, Poland.


UEFA released the following statement: ‘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. 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.’


Tony Higgins, FIFPro’s spokesperson on anti-racism, welcomes the action taken by UEFA. ‘Speaking on behalf of FIFPro, the representative of all professional footballers worldwide, we are appalled that racism has reared its ugly head.’


’Last Friday in Warsaw at the launch of the Respect campaign by amongst others UEFA, FIFPro and FARE, it was made abundantly clear that discriminatory behaviour would not be tolerated in any shape or form.’


‘Furthermore the Polish Government who were also in attendance stated strongly that they will not tolerate this behaviour, and would take severe action against anyone found guilty of racism during the games. It is now time to live up to these promises.’


‘FIFPro calls on all fans to follow the principles of the Respect campaign throughout the EURO 2012 tournament and beyond.’


‘We should be talking about the great matches played at this fantastic event instead of the behaviour of some football fans.’