• Euro 2012

Dutch players report racial abuse at training

ESPN staff
June 8, 2012 « London 2012 just the start for GB basketball | Chartbeat test »

Netherlands captain Mark Van Bommel branded racial abuse "a real disgrace" on the eve of Euro 2012 after a number of players were allegedly subjected to monkey chants at a training session in Krakow.

Van Bommel claims Oranje players were targeted by Polish fans as they began running warm-up laps at the Stadion Miejski on Thursday evening. The midfielder responded to the taunts by leading the Dutch squad to the far side of the pitch before hitting out at the perpetrators in a press conference.

"It is a real disgrace, especially after getting back from [a visit to] Auschwitz, that you are confronted with this," Van Bommel is quoted as saying in several newspapers. "We will take it up with UEFA and if it happens at a match we will talk to the referee and ask him to take us off the field."

When questioned over the incident by Dutch journalists who claimed they did not hear the abuse, Van Bommel said: "You need to open your ears. If you did hear it, and don't want to hear it, that is even worse."

Reports in Poland suggest local fans were protesting because Krakow was overlooked as a host city for the European Championship. The alleged incident comes ahead of England holding their first open training session in the city on Friday, with 3,500 spectators expected to attend.

Van Bommel's threat to lead his side from the pitch if the trouble persists during the tournament will not be welcome news to UEFA president Michel Platini, who earlier this week stated players walking from the field of play would be handed yellow cards.

The Netherlands begin their Euro 2012 Group B campaign against Denmark on Saturday.

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