In seven days, Euro 2012 kicks off and tens of thousands of fans from all over Europe will travel to Poland and Ukraine. The two countries are hosting this summer’s big tournament. Final preparations are underway and the finishing touches are being put to the 8 stadiums.
But the neighbours have come under the spotlight this week - for all the wrong reasons. A BBC programme showed fans giving Nazi salutes, taunting black players with monkey noises and a group of Asian students being attacked in one of the four Ukrainian cities, which will be hosting group matches.
The former England player Sol Campbell warned ethnic minority fans to stay away because “you could end up coming back in a coffin”.
So, does he have a point or is this all a fuss about nothing?
According to Yan, a Polish football fan who lives in Leicester, ethnic minorities thinking of travelling to Poland have nothing to worry about.
But in Leicester city centre, Asian football fans have mixed views.
John Williams is a senior lecturer at the University of Leicester and says what we’re experiencing with Poland and Ukraine is nothing new. He remembers the controversy surrounding the World Cup in America in 1994 with people saying the country was too violent and the tournament shouldn’t be held there. A decade later, South Africa faced was also criticised. It became the first African nation to host the World Cup. But it was accused of being ‘lawless, too dangerous and racially divided’.
Poland and Ukraine have reacted sharply to claims of racism and mob violence on their terraces. They’ve given assurances that foreign footballers and fans alike would be welcome and safe.