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Should England be participating in Euro 2012? No

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No, they shouldn’t.

I’m sure a lot of you will have seen the Panorama special on racism in Ukraine and Poland or read something related to it. If you have not, it is truly despicable. Groups of fans, including young children, perform the Nazi salute throughout matches, make monkey noises at black players and attack supporters for being any colour other than white.

It is sickening and saddening that this behaviour is commonplace in football matches in those countries and even more disturbing that the authorities seemed to deny it even taking place.

Although issues of racism are far from solved in any country on this planet, England has been one of the more progressive places in combatting racism. They have a football team which has players of different ethnicities and a fan base that represents the growing diversity of the country.

Why should a country that is at the forefront of promoting multiculturalism subject its football team and their fans to such sickening abuse? Racism is something which should always be actively prosecuted, without exception. Someone who sits beside their friend who is making racist jokes is condoning their behaviour, even if they do not laugh. By not objecting they are agreeing with what is being said. Travelling to and playing in the tournament is essentially quietly condoning the racism that takes place there.

England should have boycotted Euro 2012, not because they do not agree with what happens in Ukraine and Poland, but because what happens there is wrong. It needs to be objected to. It needs someone to stand up and object. It needs the shame and embarrassment of countries refusing to play in the tournament because maybe this is what is required to finally push someone into taking action. It is an issue that needs to be raised on a global scale and England has the power to make that happen.

As one of the most culturally diverse countries on the planet we have a moral obligation to take a stand. There are many factors that could influence this decision, but the one which should influence it is morality. It is simply wrong to travel to the European Championships with the knowledge that the country in which it is being hosted is rife with racism.

Do you agree? To see the other side of the debate, click here

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