Gordon Taylor: "unacceptable" for UEFA not to investigate racist chants

The head of the Professional Footballers' Association says UEFA must deal with racism "in the strongest way possible".

Netherlands national football team players vie for the ball.
Netherlands national football team players Khalid Boulahrouz (L), Dirk Kuyt (C) and Klaas Jan Huntelaar vie for the ball during a practice session. Photograph: Getty Images.

The chief executive of the Professional Footballers' Association has warned that it is "unacceptable" for UEFA not to investigate allegations of racist abuse against Holland players during a Euro 2012 training session in Krakow, Poland. 

Gordon Taylor told the New Statesman: "The problem of racism is one that has been evident before in Poland and Ukraine and it's not good enough for UEFA to place the tournament there and then if it occurs not to deal with it in the strongest way possible. If you go into the lion’s den, you’ve got to be prepared for the consequences.

"They need to use all means possible to make it clear to fans and governments that this is unacceptable. This is something that can't be ignored and I suggest it shouldn't be ignored."

Dutch players were subjected to monkey chants by several hundred spectators and were forced to move their training drills to the other side of the ground. Mark van Bommel, the team's captain, said: "It is a real disgrace especially after getting back from Auschwitz [the Dutch squad had visited the concentration camp on Wednesday] that you are confronted with this. 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."

In response, UEFA denied that the chants were racially motivated and claimed that the crowd was protesting because Krakow had not been made one of the host cities. The body said that it had "no plans" to launch an investigation into the abuse.

England will hold a training session in Krakow on Friday and will allow the public to watch. Asked how England players should respond if they are racially abused during the tournament, Taylor said: "I think they should respond, albeit it through the captain. If they're hearing it and the referee isn't, then it's up to the captain to inform the referee. Then it's up to the referee to make it clear that if it doesn't stop, the game will be called off."

He dismissed the suggestion by UEFA president Michel Platini that players could face disciplinary action if they leave the pitch over racist abuse. "I think that's going into a very dangerous area," Taylor said. "If you think of any other form of entertainment or sport, it wouldn't be acceptable. The last thing people should think of is sanctioning the punishment of the victims."

Italy striker Mario Balotelli said that he would leave the pitch if subjected to racist taunts at the tournament. In response, Platini warned that any player who walked off could expect to receive a yellow card from the referee.