After weeks of anticipation, speculation and debate, UEFA’s EURO 2012 tournament will begin in a few hours in Poland and Ukraine.
16 of Europe’s best footballing countries will be competing over the next three weeks on the trophy and title of Europe’s football champion.
31 games in total will be played in eight stadiums across Poland and Ukraine.
In Wroclaw, host city of three games, I enjoyed witnessing the development and completion of major infrastructure projects; from a brand new terminal in the airport, to a newly-founded stadium and highway that will allow hundreds of fans and supporters to come and experience this year’s football championship. This investment will of course benefit largely with citizens of Wroclaw even after the identity of the football champion in 2012 has been revealed.
Yet, on the background of these preparations, headlines from recent weeks raised concerns of bigotry and racism against players of the different teams.
Unfortunately hooliganism is always an issue at major football tournaments. However in my view sport occasions, as such, also provide us the opportunity to raise issues of anti-racism to the public discussion as a way to promote tolerance on and off the football pitch.
Looking forward to an exciting and fair tournament, I will end this post by wishing our Polish team luck ahead of today’s match!
Let the games begin…!
Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg