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SBD Global/June 11, 2012/International Football
UEFA To Take Action Against Russia Over Fan Racism
Published June 11, 2012
UEFA CONCERN: In N.Y., Rob Hughes wrote that UEFA President Michel Platini is "concerned that UEFA has taken the soccer festival to two developing, formerly communist nations, while Europe battles economic problems in seemingly every corner." Hopefully, "a million tourists who have never traveled to Poland or Ukraine will see enough to make them want to visit again." However, the fear is that even if new infrastructure is ready, "old and intolerant attitudes toward race may persist." Platini said, "Of 70,000 people in the stadium, we cannot stand outside saying: 'You're racist; you can't come in. You're not racist, so you can'" (N.Y. TIMES, 6/10).
SPONSORS WEARY: BRAND REPUBLIC's John Reynolds reported that sponsors of Euro 2012 are "on red alert" as they seek to avoid any association of their brands with reported cases of racism in the Ukraine during the tournament." BrandRapport Dir Sports Marketing Nigel Currie said, "This is obviously a concern for brands. It goes without saying they don't want any sort of controversy or nastiness, or anything that detracts from the game." There is no indication that UEFA sponsors are pulling back on activity because of the threat. However, there "is a sense" that the tournament has been overshadowed by the Olympics and the Queen's Jubilee, which has meant "brands have found it difficult to get standout" (BRAND REPUBLIC.com, 6/8).
UKRAINE REGRET: The AFP reported that Ukraine's ambassador to London criticised a decision by British ministers not to attend group stage games of the tournament because of concerns about "selective justice." Volodymyr Khandogiy told BBC Radio ahead of the tournament opener, "As far as that being a reason for not attending, this is something I don't understand since I believe that sport and politics, they don't mix" (AFP, 6/9). The SUNDAY TIMES reported that "no British government ministers will be attending England’s Group D games in Donetsk and Kiev amid anger over the treatment of jailed opposition leader Yulia Tymoshenko." Other countries, such as Germany and France, have announced that senior politicians "would boycott games played in Ukraine unless the human rights situation under President Viktor Yanukovych improved" (SUNDAY TIMES, 6/10).