2012 is rich on sports events. Passions around the European football forum have calmed a little bit and the Olympic Games have started in London. We’ll hope this sport events will be held under the motto of fair game without violence, discrimination and racism.
I write about it because namely these problems disturbed the British mass-media on the eve of Euro-2012 in Poland and Ukraine. It’s artificial threat of racism and xenophobia that frightened off football fans and tourists. Owing to scandalous publications in English mass-media and to statements of the ex-captain of English national team Mr. Campbell the championship holding in Ukraine was doubtful. Fortunately for all fans of football “Stadiums of hate” appeared as “Stadiums of kindliness and hospitality”.
Ukraine and Poland have proved as hospitable and tolerant owners of the championship. This fact was noted by the president of UEFA. Euro-2012 did really brought success to Ukraine and Poland. This championship will be remembered due to its excellent organization, unique atmosphere and excellent football.
Why the British mass-media covered a situation in such a way ? What is the reason? Who is to profit by it?
Even prior to the beginning of the Olympic Games in London the GB faced big problems. The international community keeps a close watch on a question of ensuring of the stadiums' security and prevention of threat of acts of terrorism. Many experts consider, that mass disorders during the Olympic Games will be inevitable. As a result, billions money of tax payers are already spent for unprecedented security measures.
The British mass-media seem to have launched large-scale campaign to discredit Euro-2012 just to deflect public attention away from the internal problems. And these problems really exist.
For the last half a year in the GB scandals because of racism affected even eminent English players and grand clubs.
I don’t exclude the possibility that the British mass-media needed the scandal with charges of Ukraine in racism. But having denied it, Ukrainians proved that other stereotypes also needed a check.
The holder of the order of the British Empire Clare Dimyon for the period of his stay in various cities of Ukraine during Euro-2012 hasn’t noticed any display of not tolerant attitude to people of other races and nationalities. He, on behalf of all Britons adduced an excuse for story about Ukrainian racism broadcasted by BBC.
And what about human rights organizations?
There is a notable fact, that less than one month before the start of the championship human rights organization Amnesty International called Britons football fans to be careful as regards to racism and lawlessness of law enforcement bodies in the countries holding the championship. And already after a football forum it publicly testified the fact of ABSENCE of displays of XENOPHOBIA AND RACISM at the Ukrainian stadiums. STATEMENT OF AMNESTY INTERNATIONAL WAS ENTIRELY SUPPORTED BY the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
Welcome to Ukraine and Poland!
In Ukraine and Poland football passions have calmed. Owners of the championship ushered fans who promised to visit again these countries with the richest history and traditions, but already as tourists. The majority of fans came back home with positive impressions. According to the UEFA operations director Martin Kallen, Ukraine is a sunny country with nice people, good traditions and meals. He has underlined, that fans being about 7 million, who visited Ukraine and Poland, generally praised organizers of the championship. According to survey most part of fans consider that it was an UNUSUAL CHAMPIONSHIP, FULL VARIOUS IMPRESSIONS.
The football holiday turned out well. It was recognized even by the professional critics living according to a principle “the worse things are, the better it would be”. Guests of Euro-2012 were quite happy. They received positive impressions about Poland and Ukraine. It’s quite natural, as the governments of these countries have done all possible for successful holding of the championship.
You shouldn’t be sure, that the Euro-2012 destroyed all negative stereotypes about Ukraine, developed in the USA and the majority of the EU countries. Ukraine needs decades to overcome them. But thanks to friendly atmosphere created for fans of football, a considerable gap appeared in the wall of mistrust built by the western media long before championship holding.
Ukraine along with Poland have shown not only to football community, but also to world one, that they are opened for everyone, peace-loving nations, friendly and hospitable. And the Ukrainian stadiums are closed for racism and xenophobia.
POLAND AND UKRAINE have proved that their population highly appreciates the all-European values and despise any displays of racism the more so because football is an international game without borders and discrimination.
Martin Johansson, journalist Lähetti, Sweden