8th of June 2012 Author: Johnny Karp
The Netherlands will make no official complaint over the alleged racist abuse of players during a training session in Poland. Captain Mark van Bommel claimed the team's black players were subjected to monkey chants in Krakow during that training session. However, the Dutch FA said while some players said they heard racist abuse, the chanting was mixed with Polish fans making political statements. And, as a result, the matter is now considered closed by the Dutch FA.
UEFA has not yet made a decision whether to formally investigate. But the officials are said to be making preliminary inquiries in order to establish what had happened.
The open training session saw around 20,000 fans in the stands of the Miejski stadium in Krakow on Wednesday. While Dutch captain van Bommel complained of racist abuse the Dutch FA said this was mixed with anti-Euro 2012 chanting, probably triggered by the decision to exclude the city from hosting any matches in the tournament. Head coach Bert van Marwijk did not hear any racist abuse, the FA added.
Van Bommel was pretty clear about what had happened though: "Open your ears. If you did hear it, and don't want to hear it, that is even worse." The claims come on the opening day of the tournament, which is being co-hosted by Poland and Ukraine.
Dutch journalist Marcel Van Der Kraan said he heard the racist abuse: "The Dutch had an open training session which they always do at one of the big stadiums to make the public feel welcome. As the Dutch players did their warm-up, during the first lap of the pitch they could hear monkey noises from one end of the crowd. When the players heard this they said they would do another lap and if they heard monkey noises again they would stop. The Dutch coach Bert van Marwijk moved all the cones and started training on the pitch as far away from these people as possible. It was considerably more than two or three people. The Dutch media could hear it as well."
Ironically, the day before the alleged abuse, the Netherlands players had visited Nazi concentration camp Auschwitz, which is nearby. Van Bommel said: "It is a real disgrace, especially after getting back from Auschwitz, that you are confronted with this. 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."
Uefa president Michel Platini said that referees had the power to stop games if there was racist abuse from the stands. The tournament starts at 17:00 BST on Friday with hosts Poland playing Greece in the opening match in Warsaw.
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