Concerns over racist abuse in Eastern Europe01 October 2004

Campaigners have expressed renewed concern over the continuing situation with regard to racism and disorder in East European football following events in Budapest on 30 September 2004.

The Ferencvaros v Millwall UEFA cup tie in Budapest was marred by disorder inside and outside the stadium, and by racist chanting directed at midfielder Paul Ifill and striker Mark McCammon.

The abuse at the game follows a litany of racism suffered by most English clubs who have played Eastern European sides in UEFA competitions in recent seasons.

UK campaign, Kick It Out, contacted UEFA to raise their concerns on the problem, and offered their support to the south London club. The group are working with other campaigners across Eastern Europe as part of its role within the Football Against Racism in Europe (FARE) network.

Director of Kick It Out, Piara Powar, said,
“The events of last night are depressingly familiar. The situation with respect to racism in places such as Hungary is extremely problematic. NGO’s on the ground, human rights monitoring groups and the European Commission, have all expressed concern at the levels of organised neo- fascist activity and everyday racism.

Football provides a public outlet for many of these attitudes and British teams with high numbers of black players become the focus during UEFA games.

We have been in contact with UEFA and are confident that, based on the evidence available, they will investigate and issue sanctions. Of greater concern is the longer term situation and the slow pace of change.”