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Dutch squad subjected to racial abuse at training session

Coach Van Marwijk said his squad will now be perfectly aware of what they may come across during the course of the tournament.

Mark van Bommel leads the Dutch training session.
Mark van Bommel leads the Dutch training session.
Image: Getty images

NETHERLANDS CAPTAIN Mark van Bommel claims that yesterday’s open training session was marred by racist chants aimed at Oranje’s black players.

Around 25,000 people came to watch Bert van Marwijk’s men in action as they prepare for Euro 2012, but it has been reported that a small contingent of those present directed their attention to members of the Dutch squad.

On the instructions of the AC Milan midfielder, the players moved their equipment and training drills to the other side of Wisla Krakow’s stadium, and the incident left the veteran fuming.

“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,” the 35-year-old said after the session. ”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.”

Coach Van Marwijk said his squad will now be perfectly aware of what they may come across during the course of the tournament.

“At least now we know what we can encounter. Very atmospheric,” he said.

UEFA has confirmed that the training session was interrupted by some protesters but denied that they had racist connotations.  An official discussed the situation with the Dutch squad, and was told that the chanting had not been racially motivated, with the protests believed to be in response to Krakow not being used as a host city during the tournament.

But when pressed by members of the Dutch media into commenting on what had occurred, Van Bommel said: “You need to open your ears. If you did hear it, and don’t want to hear it, that is even worse.”

UEFA have a staunch zero-tolerance policy on racism within football and Euro 2012 has already been the subject of reports and documentaries about racist and anti-Semitic behaviour in both host nations, Poland and Ukraine. The host cities chosen by Europe’s football governing body are Gdansk, Poznan, Wroclaw and capital city Warsaw.

Euro 2012 kicks off on tonight with hosts Poland playing Greece in the opening match. Russia take on Czech Republic later in the evening.

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