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British & Irish Residents
Euro 2012: 'England only' zones set up amid fears for black and Asian fans -
June 3, 2012
"Special "safe zones" are to be set up for England football fans attending the Euro 2012 championships in Poland and Ukraine amid concern about the threat of attacks by racists and far-right nationalists. The decision by the Football Association and England's sponsor Vauxhall to provide "England only" areas in Kiev and Donetsk in Ukraine, where England will play their Group D matches, has been welcomed by anti-fascist groups which have voiced particular fears for the safety of black and Asian England fans. The Observer has learned that facilities are being hired in both cities so that the estimated 3,000 England fans can congregate safely and get advice from both FA officials and British police travelling to the championship. Only registered England fans will be admitted to the areas, meaning there will be no access for fans from the host nations. While an FA spokesman said the facilities were there to assist fans during their stay, sources said the decision reflected anxiety among British police that England fans could run into trouble if they were left to roam the cities on their own. Concern has grown after a BBC Panorama programme, broadcast on Monday, showed shocking footage of racist and antisemitic incidents at recent Polish and Ukrainian football grounds. In Ukraine, in particular, the police and stadium officials seemed reluctant to intervene. It is understood that the "safe zones" for England fans will be sited in social clubs with bars where supporters can drink alcohol – consumption of which is banned in public places in Ukraine – use the internet and mix with British police and FA officials who will be on hand to give advice. Nick Lowles, a leading anti-fascist campaigner and author of a report into racism and antisemitism in the two countries, welcomed the move as a sign of co-operation between English fans, police and the FA. But he remained concerned about England fans, particularly those visiting Ukraine. "There will be far fewer travelling...
by way of clarification, it says public consumption of alcohol is banned in Ukraine. If you go to any Ukrainian city you will see children as young as 13-14- normal kids not street children - drinking beer openly in the street; it is available from kiosks and treated like a soft drink. Culturally it seems very odd but people are relaxed about it and you can get beer on many street corners (which for adults is very handy) -
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