Euro 2012 racism: 'It would be safer for me to watch Euros in the pub'
Bristol student Raj Chande, a member of the FA's official fans' group, explains why he has decided to cancel his trip to Ukraine. He talks to Sam Wallace
Along with a friend of mine I bought two "category one" Euro 2012 tickets for £116 each, including one for Ukraine v England in Donetsk. I spent £325 on flights. To keep the cost of our flights down, we decided to go to Donetsk via Berlin and spend some time there and then fly straight back to London after the game.
A match against the host nation sounded like fun. I have friends of Asian heritage who had watched games in Poland before and I presumed that Ukraine would be fine, too. I read the travel advice closely but it is only very recently that I have noticed the crucial paragraph appear on the Foreign Office advice for British nationals in Ukraine.
In reference to attacks on foreign nationals, it says "in some cases attacks have been racially motivated. Travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent and individuals belonging to religious minorities should take extra care." I believe this has been added recently, although I cannot be sure. Having done my research on Ukraine, I can't think I would have missed it.
I spoke to my friend, who is of Indian heritage, and we both agreed it was alarming. I read around the subject, especially the comments of the senior British police officer travelling to Ukraine, who thought English fans would be provoked. Then Roy Hodgson mentioned it on Wednesday. When I read that Theo Walcott's family are not going to Ukraine because of their fears of racially-motivated attacks it made up my mind.
I would be pretty certain the Walcotts would be staying in a better hotel than mine, and have transport to the match. If they are thinking "this is not for us" then that has to make fans like me think twice.
Given the recent reports of violence among Ukrainian fans and the response of the Foreign Office I think it would be safer to watch the game from a pub in Bristol.
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