Campaigners call for action over Croatia racism18 June 2004

Representatives of the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network will today call for urgent action after racist chanting and neo- nazi banners were reported at the Croatia vs. France game in Lieira last night (17th June 2004).

FARE observers and other fans present, reported mass abuse of the French team of “Go back to Africa”, and monkey chants. There were also reports of neo- nazi symbols on banners displayed around the stadium.

FARE are taking the unusual step of asking UEFA to take immediate action, in the form of a warning or fine, during the course of a major tournament due to the scale of the chants heard.

UEFA will also be asked to ensure stewarding and policing authorities identify and remove any racist and neo- fascist banners at future games.

Piara Powar, Director of Kick It Out, today said,

“This has been a relatively good tournament with some problems of a neo – nazi presence drawn to our attention, but little example of this kind of mass racism until now. The reports from the Croatia game are clear, taken by experienced observers, and need to be dealt with as a matter of urgency.”

“Our concern is that players from the England team will be subjected to the same type of treatment on Monday as they were in October 2002 against Slovakia. In that sort of scenario there is the added complication of the possibility of reaction from sections of the huge England support due to be at the game.”

“UEFA have said they will investigate thoroughly any issues of this kind, a report will be sent to them later today.”