Fears in Ukraine of neo-nazi group hijacking football fans agenda16 January 2007

The Ukrainian neo-nazi group UNTP (Ukrainian National Labour Party) has announced a so-called ‘Defend Our Football’ action on Sunday, 21st January in Kiev. They are planning a rally outside Dynamo Kiev´s stadium, and also amongst the initiators are several ukrainian hooligan firms.

In a blatant attempt to increase their influence among football fans and involve more youths in racist and other discriminative activity, the UNTP plan a demonstration against the ‘men in suits’ from the FFU (Football Federation of Ukraine) and the PFL (Professional Football League).

Although football supporters may sympathize with some of the demands, such as encouraging the playing of Ukrainian international matches in various regions of the country, the neo-nazi influence shows clearly in the call to forbid the naturalization of ‘non-Ukrainian origin players’.

The reaction in the ukrainian sportspapers has been mainly positive so far, with a worrying lack of concern that an openly neo-nazist party are one of the organisers of the demonstration.

The organization ‘Ukrainian Ultras Against Racism’ is urging fans not to participate in the demonstration. A spokesperson for the group said: “It's a scandal that a neonazi organisation tries to make rightwing propaganda out of the problems which football fans face. We're hoping for solidarity from antiracist football fans all over Europe and an official statement from UEFA and the ukrainian FA condemning the demonstration.”