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Friday Kickoff: Racism at Dutch training, Polish Dortmund trio on move and more

Netherlands (Getty Images)

Euro 2012 has yet to begin, but the fears of fan racism have already begun to be realized.

During an open training session in Krakow, Poland, the Netherlands national team was reportedly subjected to monkey noises and chants from fans in the crowd. The Dutch FA is not submitting a formal complaint, so no action will be taken, but the incident highlights a bigger issue with the tournament's opening games just hours away.

UEFA has claimed to have instituted a no-tolerance policy for fan racism, anticipating some issues in Poland and Ukraine. Thursday's incident puts UEFA under immediate pressure to follow through, and the governing body of European soccer released a statement regarding the Dutch training session.

"Should such behaviour happen at further training sessions, UEFA would evaluate the operational measures to be taken to protect players," UEFA said in a statement. "UEFA has now been made aware that there were some isolated incidents of racist chanting that occurred at the open training session of the Dutch team. UEFA has a zero tolerance policy when it comes to discriminatory behavior and has given the power to referees to stop matches in case of any repeated racist behavior."

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It appears that Shinji Kagawa's departure was just the beginning of a mass exodus at two-time defending Bundesliga champion Borussia Dortmund. At least according to Poland coach Franciszek Smuda. 

Smuda told reporters that his Dortmund trio of Robert Lewandowski, Jakub Blaszczykowski and Lukasz Piszczek are all going to be hitting the transfer market this summer, and he let slip the destinations for where he believes they will be headed.

"Lewy is going to Manchester United, Jakub also somewhere in England, Lukasz Piszczek to Real Madrid. They have a goal, and they want to grow," Smuda said.

If Smuda's projections hold, the 23-year-old Lewandowski, who scored 30 goals in all competitions this past season, would be reunited with Kagawa at United.


Jermain Defoe's absence from the England national team won't cause him to miss any game time in Euro 2012.

Defore, who left the team Thursday to be with his family following the passing of his father, is set to rejoin the Three Lions on Saturday, a day before England's opener against France. With Defoe back in the fold, Roy Hodgson will be able to choose from the Tottenham striker, Andy Carroll and Danny Welbeck when selecting his starting strikers. 


Steve Clarke has been named West Brom's new coach, stepping into the role vacated by Hodgson when he took the helm of the England national team.

Clark, most recently an assistant to Kenny Dalglish at Liverpool and a past assistant at Chelsea, Newcastle and West Ham, inherits a team that finished 10th in the Premier League last season, and it will be his first job as a head coach in his career.


What do you think of the incident in Krakow? Think Lewandowski would be a wise signing for Manchester United? Should Defoe get the start against France? Think West Brom made a sound hire in Clarke?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think you have the solution: identify the INDIVIDUAL racist and put them in jail and make them pay some heavy fines. Looks like soccer needs this type of photo technology more for crowd control than goal-line determinations.


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