Hear no evil.
See no evil. Having controversially awarded the Euro 2012 tournament to Poland and Ukraine, Uefa appears determined to sweep under the carpet the extent to which racism stains the beautiful game in both countries. Witness the European governing body's pusillanimous response to racist chanting directed at black players in the Dutch national team in Krakow this week.
Initially Uefa tried to deny it was racially motivated, conceding there had been "isolated racist chanting" only after the intervention of the campaigning body Football Against Racism in Europe. This followed the shocking revelations of the recent BBC Panorama programme, which documented how right-wing racist groups in the two Eastern European countries use football as a platform for thuggery and a recruiting ground for extremism, with apparent impunity.
Football would be nothing without the passion and partisanship of the fans, who supply noise and atmosphere, but when that passion spills over into fascism, racism and anti-Semitism, the game is demeaned. That is why it is disingenuous for Uefa president Michel Platini to protest that racism is not his responsibility.
There is nothing inevitable about racist thuggery in football. The Scottish footballing fraternity now looks back with shame on scenes such as Celtic fans throwing bananas at the black player Mark Walters in 1988. Today sectarianism too is being shown the red card.
Contrast this with the mixed messages emanating from Uefa, which talks of referees cracking down on unacceptable behaviour, then threatens a yellow card against any non-white player driven from the pitch by racist taunting.
Part of the argument for taking major sporting events to countries such as Poland and Ukraine is that it will shine a light on their shortcomings and encourage them to improve. The risk is that it merely appears to endorse unacceptable attitudes. If Uefa wants European football to be a united happy family, it should treat the awarding of such events as a reward for progress made, not a naive inducement. Even if police and match officials are able to maintain order at the grounds, there is no guarantee of supporters' safety elsewhere, especially if they are non-white. Little wonder that the families of Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott dare not travel there.
Football is more than just a game. It is a microcosm of society. The selection of Poland and Ukraine for the staging of this tournament is a testament to how far it is from being a level playing field for every player, regardless of the colour of his skin. If it is to regain any credibility, Uefa must demonstrate that its determination to boot out racism extends beyond rhetoric.
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