Sticking with Euro 2012…….and nationalism

Following on rather neatly from yesterday’s post about police strategy for the Euro 2012 football tournament, whilst diligently passing a empirical eye over nationalism in Ukraine for those who pay (bless them), I came across a report on football and those to the far-right of the ideology spectrum.

The report covers nationalism showing its face at football matches in Poland and Ukraine from 2009 to the beginning of 2011 in both nations and quite rightly was supported by UEFA during its compilation.

For those who are old enough and remember Britain in the late 1970’s and early 1980’s, it would probably read as any similar report would have read if written about the England and Wales Football League at that time.  In short, rather grim but not an epidemic.

Where it would differ in a comparison to UK football of the late 70’s/early 80’s, is the overt support offered by both Polish and Ukrainian MPs and political parties and the reluctance of  the clubs, police and relevant national league administrations to seriously address the situation.

What should also be noted is that in every stadium in both nations that are home to the fixtures in the Euro 2012 tournament, all are identified as having a regular and hard-core far-right contingent within its attendees.  When it comes to Ukraine, unsurprisingly Lviv and the Svoboda Party get repeated mentions, although only FC Kyiv Arsenal get a mention for having no obvious far-right contingent.  In fact they are mentioned for their active anti-fascist/nationalist/Nazi banners and symbolism.

Given that international sporting events, and particularly football, have historically had numerous violent clashes outside the stadiums both before and after the games in numerous countries, undoubtedly this will be a concern for the politicians on both Poland and Ukraine, not to mention Europol and the local the police at each venue.

However, all things should be kept in perspective.  Just because things can happen doesn’t mean they will when it comes to violence.  As for the symbolism, most people have no idea what they mean once you get past the obvious images such as the swastika.  If you are a Buddhist, that particular symbol has a completely different meaning to a European.

Anyway, back to doing what I am being paid for!