UEFA, the governing body of soccer in Europe, confirmed that fans yelled racist chants aimed at the Netherlands players during an open training session of EURO 2012 Krakow, Poland.
Dutch captain Mark van Bommel said “monkey” chants were directed at players, some of whom are black. The chants confirmed the fears of racism from the crowds in host nations Poland and the Ukraine, where fans had previously given Nazi salutes and taunted black players with sounds emulating monkeys.
Dutch players were infuriated by the racist chants, which began as its team began warm-ups. Dutch Journalist Marcel van der Kraan, who is covering the tournament for the newspaper, De Telegraaf, witnessed the incident.
“As the Dutch players did their warm-up,: van der Kraan said to BBC Radio Live, “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 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.”
Van Bommel said the Dutch team would not tolerate such abuse during EURO 2012. “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 released a statement addressing the matter, saying “UEFA has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to discriminatory behavior and has given the power to referees to stop matches in case of any repeated racist behavior.”