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Football and Violence: Are they really inseparable?

With the intensity coming to a maximum on the opening stages of the Euro 2012, there has been a recurring problem that has manifested again – violence and hooliganism.

UEFA has recently condemned the incidents of violence that took place pre-game and post-game at the match between Poland and Russia in Warsaw on Tuesday.

Several groups of hooligans assaulted fans (irrespective of their ethnicity or nationality) and pelted the police with missiles.

UEFA organizers have declared that they will leave this to the relevant authorities to deal with. Several individuals were arrested and charged.

A statement from the organization said: "UEFA’s philosophy is to create a welcoming environment coupled with a low-profile approach to policing. The focus should be on facilitating the enjoyment of the matches by genuine football fans and isolating the tiny percentage of troublemakers. UEFA is in a constant dialogue with the public authorities in order to achieve this aim. UEFA is determined that the overwhelmingly peaceful and festive atmosphere that has so far pervaded at Euro 2012 will be continued right up to and including the final in Kiev on July 1."

Aside from these recent happenings, there have been problems, this time of racism in the previous games. UEFA is set to also investigate alleged racist chanting during the matches between Spain and Italy and Russia versus Czech Republic.

Spanish group of fans has admitted that some of its supporters abused Manchester City and Italy striker Mario Balotelli.

Czech Republic defender Theodor Gebre Selassie has told reporters that he “noticed” racist chants directed at him. Uefa said that no disciplinary proceedings had been started at this stage.

According to the UEFA statement: “Following the provision of new independent information today, regarding the two cases of alleged racist chanting in the Spain-Italy and Russia-Czech Republic matches, UEFA is now conducting further investigations.”

No official complaints have been made to UEFA by Italy or Czech Republic.

Piara Powar of the Football Against Racism in Europe (Fare) network, told BBC Sport that the statement, along with testimony from photographers at the game given to the Daily Mirror, has been handed to UEFA.

Thomas Herzog, of the Football Supporters Europe Fans’ Embassy team for Spanish supporters, declared in a statement that around “200 supporters started monkey chants when the Italian player Mario Balotelli touched the ball”.

He added: “We’re glad to report that the majority of Spanish supporters reacted in a very positive way, because many of them tried to intervene very quickly and stop the fans in question from singing.

What do you think?

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