herald

Sunday 17 December 2017

Racists target Dutch squad on eve of tournament

Holland's black players were allegedly subjected to monkey chants during an open training session in Krakow last night, with captain Mark van Bommel branding the abuse "a real disgrace" on the eve of Euro 2012.

The Oranje players were reportedly targeted by Polish fans as they began their practice session at the Stadion Miejski.

Van Bommel, who along with his team-mates visited former Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz on Wednesday, responded by leading the Dutch squad to the far side of the pitch, before hitting out at the perpetrators and vowing to take the matter to UEFA.

The PSV Eindhoven midfielder said: "It is a real disgrace, especially after getting back from Auschwitz, that you are confronted with this.

REFEREE

"We will take it up with UEFA and if it happens at a match we will talk to the referee and ask him to take us off the field."

He added: "You need to open your ears. If you did hear it, and don't want to hear it, that is even worse."

Bert van Marwijk's side begin their Euro 2012 Group B campaign against Denmark tomorrow.

The Dutch coach was quoted as saying of the incident: "At least now we know what we can encounter here."

The issue of racism has been a hot topic in the build-up to the tournament, with a much-publicised BBC documentary raising concerns over the conduct of some fans from the host nations.

UEFA president Michel Platini has confirmed referees have been instructed to call a halt to matches at this summer's tournament if a player is racially taunted.

Yet the Frenchman also warned any player who left the field unilaterally in protest over abuse from the stands would be yellow carded.

Italy and Manchester City striker Mario Balotelli had earlier said he intended to do exactly that if he found himself being racially abused.

Former England centre-back Sol Campbell, meanwhile, was compelled to advise fans to avoid the tournament after seeing the Panorama images of supporters in Ukraine giving Nazi salutes and taunting black players with monkey noises.

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