Ukrainians in the UK say No to Racism

Please see below a statement signed by representatives of Ukrainian organisations based in the UK following the BBC Panorama report and consequent coverage in the UK media on racism in Ukrainian Football:

We were saddened to see the Panorama programme screened on BBC One on Monday evening, which featured disturbing images of mindless and deplorable intolerance and extremism on the stands of football stadiums in Poland and Ukraine ahead of Euro 2012. We unequivocally condemn the actions of an unrepresentative minority of football hooligans.

Ukrainian football fans both in Ukraine and around the world who have seen those images, were sickened by them and are very disappointed that a tiny minority of football thugs can create such an unfair negative perception of two nations hosting Europe’s greatest footballing tournament.

Sadly, every country has its extremists, but the shocking scenes on the Panorama programme do not represent the behaviour or mindset of the vast majority of Ukrainian people, who are looking forward to welcoming guests from all over the world for Euro 2012.

Ukrainians living here in the UK do not tolerate any form of racism. We ourselves often travel to Ukraine. Many of us have lived there for long periods, and seen that Ukrainians are a tolerant and welcoming people. Ukrainians are looking forward to hosting Euro 2012 and show the world the nation’s warmth and hospitality. An unrepresentative minority of hooligans cannot be allowed to spoil Europe’s biggest festival of football.

Zenko Lastowiecki, Chair, Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain

Anzhela Yevgenyeva, President, Oxford University Ukrainian Society

Martyn Chymera, Chair, UK Ukrainian Sports Supporters Club

Irina Tymczyszyn, Director, Ukrainian British City Club

Igor Hordiyevych, Co-founder, Trustee, Ukraine Charity

Dr. Roman Cregg, Founding President, Ukrainian Medical Association of the UK

Andy Hunder, Director, Ukrainian Institute in London