In a remarkable step forward, FARE partner Never Again, have worked with a Polish club to ban a group of racists from its ground following some disturbing scenes of racism. During the opening match of the season between Kolporter Korona Kielce and Cracovia Kraków, a group of racists abused their own team’s player – Brazilian born Hernani.
The incidents provoked a huge national debate within the Polish media. Never Again, who have been working tirelessly in Poland and Eastern Europe, lobbied players, officials and famous personalities to make a stance against racism. They also contacted Korona Kielce to assist them in the future with practical steps that the club could take to combat the problem.
At the following match against Odra Wodzislaw, pictures of the Neo-Nazi thugs were displayed on Kolporter Korona Kielce’s stadium gates with security under strict instructions to deny them access. All the players emerged onto the pitch wearing Never Again’s campaign slogan “Let’s kick racism out of football” T-shirts. The once silent majority fans now sang anti-racist chants and supported their Brazilian star, Hernami.
This action is a massive step forward in Polish football, where racist and anti-Semitic chanting and banners are common place at matches. Racist and often violent hooligan groups have infiltrated many clubs’ fan bases. Previously, most football clubs would rather deny that the problem existed. Hopefully, these anti-racist initiatives are the beginning of Polish fans reclaiming the terraces from the racists.