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Saturday, June 09, 2012
NETHERLANDS coach Bert van Marwijk and captain Mark van Bommel last night refused to dwell on the racist abuse allegedly suffered by black members of the squad during a training session in Krakow.
Van Marwijk appeared keen to draw a line under the incident which apparently saw his players subjected to monkey chants at Wisla Krakow’s Miejski Stadium onWednesday.
He and Van Bommel – who branded the incident "a disgrace" – merely repeated what was already known, the former confirming he had not heard the alleged abuse and the latter reiterating he himself definitely had.
"The whole group heard it," Van Bommel said after arriving in Kharkiv, Ukraine, ahead of today’s Euro 2012 Group B opener against Denmark.
Van Marwijk added: "I didn’t hear anything racist in nature but there were some players who did, including the one sat next to me."
Neither spoke about the possible implications of the incident, which was finally acknowledged yesterday by both UEFA and the Dutch FA.
European football’s governing body confirmed they would consider increasing the number of stewards at open training sessions in order to eject fans if there was a repeat.
The Dutch FA issued their own statement confirming some of their players heard "possible monkey chants".
They added: "Although KNVB will not make an official complaint to UEFA, they are more than willing to answer questions of UEFA in this respect."
Holland winger Ibrahim Afellay, who is black, said: "The only thing that you can say is that there are more madmen roaming than trapped. When you’re a footballer, you must be strong, because you hear it all the time – when you enter the pitch, when you take a throw-in, or when you take a corner."
Former Holland star Ruud Gullit, now a UEFA representative, added: "Everybody was very, very upset".
The vitriol was said to be enough for the squad to move their equipment and training drills as far away as possible from the affected area.
Nigerian-born Emmanuel Olisadebe, who played for Poland 25 times between 2000-2004, was subject to racist abuse on moving to the eastern European country.
Of the alleged monkey chants, Olisadebe believes the issue has to be faced head on, telling CNN World Sport: "I think it’s barbaric. Some people feel that the European teams should have only white players playing for them and that this is a European competition and should be only for white people.
"This is 2012, we don’t live in that kind of world any more. We have to face this problem. We have to face it now or later and UEFA have decided to face it now and we will face it now."
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