Campbell criticised Uefa for allowing Poland and Urkaine to host the Euro 2012 tournament
(AFP) – 13 hours ago
LONDON — Former England footballer Sol Campbell is warning fans to stay away from the Euro 2012 tournament in Poland and Ukraine for fear of racist violence.
“Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don’t even risk it… because you could end up coming back in a coffin,” the ex-Arsenal defender tells a BBC Panorama documentary to be aired Monday.
The documentary includes footage of fans giving the Nazi salute and taunting black players with monkey noises captured during a month-long investigation into violence and racism in football in the Euro 2012 host countries.
Campbell’s comments emerged after the families of two black England players said they would not be at the tournament, which begins on June 8, out of safety concerns.
The brother of midfielder Theo Walcott announced on Twitter that he and he father would not be flying out to support the star for fear of “possible racist attacks”, while the family of Arsenal’s Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain will also stay at home out of safety fears.
England manager Roy Hodgson has also voiced concerns that non-white fans attending the tournament could risk being attacked.
Campbell, who won 73 caps for England, also criticised Uefa for choosing the countries to host the international tournament.
“I think that they were wrong, because what they should say is that ‘if you want this tournament, you sort your problems out,” he says in the programme, adding: “Until we see a massive improvement… you do not deserve these prestigious tournaments in your country.'”
Professional Football Association (PFA) deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes said Campbell was “being a little cautious” but warned that fans were “obviously going to be at risk.”
“I can’t pretend I’m going in a totally carefree manner,” Barnes told BBC Radio Five Live.
“It probably gives a little bit of concern over the fact they (Poland and Ukraine) were actually awarded these particular games… What you hope is that the countries will take this opportunity, with the eyes of the world on them, to try and present a much better face.”