Euro 2012 organisers hit back over racism fears

May 30, 2012, 09:05 IST | AFP

An outraged Ukraine yesterday hit back at the British media, current and former footballers for urging fans to stay away from next month's Euro 2012 tournament over fears of racism and violence in the ex-Soviet state.

The foreign ministry in Kiev accused England of inventing the term “skinheads” and said it had also witnessed attacks on ethnic minorities, after the BBC claimed in a documentary that far-right gangs were rife in Polish and Ukrainian football.

Ukraine is already facing a potential boycott by top European Union leaders over the alleged mistreatment of the opposition leader and former prime minister Yulia Tymoshenko, who is in jail on what critics say are trumped-up corruption charges.

“To accuse Ukraine of being fascist and racist — and to do it in the tone in which it is being done by the British media, some British footballers and individual British politicians — is simply disgraceful,” said ministry spokesman Oleg Voloshyn.  

Go to top