Racism in the Ukraine is “a dreamed up and mythical problem”, claims ministry spokesman Oleh Voloshyn, who told the AP the BBC’s Panorama episode, “Euro 2012: Stadiums of Hate,” was prepared, “in the best traditions of Soviet journalism”. ““Nazi symbols can be seen at … any match in England, but does it mean that fans should not come to London for the Olympics?” asked Voloshyn, although swastikas generally aren’t nearly that common a sight (and if they were, yes, someone would probably suggest England was a lousy place to travel to). From Reuters :
Ukrainian authorities were particularly stung by comments by former England international Sol Campbell who, in the Panorama programme, warned England fans not to travel to Euro 2012 because of the threat of racism and violence.
Campbell, who played 73 times for England and appeared at six major tournaments, said: “Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don’t even risk it … because you could end up coming back in a coffin.”
Ukrainian players rallied to their country’s defence.
Striker Andriy Shevchenko, who formerly played for English club Chelsea, said: “We do not have any real problems with racism here. Ukraine is a very peaceful country and people here are very friendly. I know that everything will be done for Euro 2012 to take place at a high level.”
Oleh Luzhny, who formerly played for London’s Arsenal, was quoted by the online publication Korrespondent.net as saying: “No, no and no again. I have never heard any talk about this problem (racism). We have Nigerian football players here and I have never heard about outbreaks of racism.”