Euro 2012 kicked off on Friday. But Europe's biggest footballing event has been overshadowed by accusations of racism in the host nations, Poland and Ukraine.
The Dutch team claims that they have already been subjected to racist chants during a training session, with players saying they heard monkey chants coming from the terraces. UEFA denies that the incident was racially motivated.
"It has been well documented that there are a lot of issues in Poland and Ukraine and it's not going to be stamped out over one tournament. You have to go right into the grassroots."
- Zesh Rehman, an ambassador for Kick it Out
Ukraine says that racism allegations are being used to discredit the country and its Euro 2012 director has insisted that the country does not have a problem with racism.
Inside Story asks if the fears of racism in Poland and Ukraine are justified and how those fears reflect on the host nations.
Do countries that are given the opportunity to host international sporting events have an obligation to stamp out this kind of behaviour?
Is racism in Poland and Ukraine any different to that found on the rest of the continent?
And should referees stop matches if players are racially abused?
Joining the discussion are guests: Zesh Rehman, a professional footballer and an ambassador for Kick it Out, an English organisation dedicated to equality and inclusion in football; Gavin Hamilton, the editor of World Soccer Magazine; and Anton Shekhovtsov, a research fellow at the University of Northampton and an expert on extremist movements in Europe.
|"I think that the recent publications and reports in the British media are quite strongly exaggerated towards the fears of racist violence in Ukraine and Poland."
Anton Shekhovtsov, an expert on extremist movements in Europe
Source: Al Jazeera