CAMPBELL'S PLEA OVER RACISM FEARS
Former international Sol Campbell has warned England fans not to travel to Euro 2012 because of the threat of racism and violence.
He said that UEFA was wrong to choose Poland and Ukraine to host the tournament as it put supporters in danger.
The former Arsenal and Tottenham defender told the BBC's Panorama programme: "Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don't even risk it... because you could end up coming back in a coffin.''
His warning came as the family of two black England players said they would not go to Euro 2012.
The brother of midfielder Theo Walcott tweeted that he and his father would not be flying out to support the star because of "possible racist attacks''.
And Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain's family have shelved plans to see their 18-year-old son play in Ukraine and Poland due to safety concerns.
The BBC documentary, to be screened on Monday night, investigates violence and racism at football matches in the host countries.
It contains footage of fans giving the Nazi salute, taunting black players with monkey noises, anti-Semitic chants and a group of Asian students being attacked at the Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv, one of the venues hosting matches in Ukraine.
Campbell said UEFA, football's European governing body, should not have allowed Poland and Ukraine to host the competition, which begins on June 8.
He said: "I think that they were wrong, because what they should say is that if you want this tournament you sort your problems out.
"Until we see a massive improvement, that you have sorted (it) out, you are never going to get the tournament. You do not deserve these prestigious tournaments in your country.''
PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes, who will be at the tournament in an official capacity with UEFA, said that while Campbell's choice of words may have been overly dramatic, the danger should not be underestimated.
He told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think he's being a little bit cautious but fans are obviously going to be at risk and it's a case of how the authorities actually impose the force that they are going to need to.
"As Sol said, we've seen the footage and there have been problems, not just from these countries but around eastern Europe over a number of years now.
"It probably gives a little bit of concern over the fact they were actually awarded these particular games but they have been and indeed you look at Russia 2018 coming up, where there are known, documented problems there as well.
"What you hope is that the countries will take this opportunity, with the eyes of the world on them, to try and present a much better face and make sure that the things they're being criticised for, they do their damnedest to make sure they don't happen.
"The one thing these countries are going to want to do is save the face of their particular country. If you've got the sort of chanting that we're all hoping and praying doesn't happen, or any sort of attacks on anybody, then obviously it's not going to be in their best interests.
"One would hope there will be a very strong response should anything occur."
Barnes revealed he would restrict his excursions at the tournament to matchday engagements only, in order to limit the threat to his own safety.
"I can't pretend I'm going there in a totally carefree manner," he said. "I'll be going as part of a UEFA group and I shall not be going out sightseeing.
"The really sad thing is I've been to most of the major championships, be it the European Championship or the World Cup, and the whole benefit and the joy of going to these things is the fact that you're walking around and getting the atmosphere and mixing with fans from other countries.
"It's just going to be really sad if a section of society are going to be denied that opportunity because of their colour and I think that needs to be looked at when we look at future venues."
Nick Lowles, from UK-based anti-racist group Hope Not Hate, was also in Poland monitoring incidents of racism.
He said: "I think increasingly the positive thing about English football is that increasingly black and Asian fans have been travelling to support England and I am concerned that they will be targeted by racists and fascists and anti-Semites in Poland and Ukraine.''
UEFA said in a statement: "Uefa Euro 2012 brings the spotlight on the host countries and clearly creates an opportunity to address and confront such societal issues.
"UEFA's zero-tolerance approach to racism is still valid both on and off the pitch and ultimately the referee has the power to stop or abandon a match should racist incidents occur.''
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