PFA's chief backs Sol Campbell over fears of racist violence in Ukraine during Euro 2012


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The Independent Football

Sol Campbell has the support of the Professional Footballers' Association after warning of the danger of racist abuse and violence at Euro 2012.

The former England defender said that Uefa was wrong to choose Poland and Ukraine to host this summer's tournament as it put supporters in danger. The former Arsenal and Spurs player told the BBC's Panorama: "Stay at home, watch it on TV. Don't even risk it ... because you could end up coming back in a coffin."

PFA deputy chief executive Bobby Barnes, who will be at the tournament with Uefa, told BBC Radio Five Live: "I think he's being a little bit cautious but fans are obviously going to be at risk and it's a case of how the authorities actually impose the force that they are going to need to."

He added: "As Sol said, we've seen the footage and there have been problems, not just from these countries but around eastern Europe over a number of years now ... and indeed you look at Russia 2018 coming up, where there are known, documented problems as well.

"What you hope is that the countries will take this opportunity, with the eyes of the world on them, to try and present a much better face and make sure that the things they're being criticised for, they do their damnedest to make sure they don't happen."

Barnes revealed he would restrict his excursions at the tournament to matchday engagements only, in order to limit the threat to his own safety. "I can't pretend I'm going there in a totally carefree manner," he said. "I'll be going as part of a Uefa group and I shall not be going out sightseeing."