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Monday, May 28, 2012
Sol: Fans could come back in coffins

ESPN staff

Former international Sol Campbell has warned England fans not to travel to Euro 2012 because of the threat of racism and violence.

• Ox's family to stay away from Euros

There are growing concerns regarding the safety of supporters ahead of this summer's European Championship, with the British Foreign Office warning about co-hosts Ukraine that "travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent and individuals belonging to religious minorities should take extra care".

England trio Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Joleon Lescott have already confirmed their families will not be making the trip to the tournament amid worries about being racially abused.

And Campbell, 37, has expressed his belief that UEFA, football's European governing body, should not have allowed Poland and Ukraine to host the competition, which begins on June 8.

The ex-Arsenal and Tottenham defender told 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.

"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."

The BBC documentary, which will 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.

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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