Racism mars Euro 2012 kick-off
The Euro 2012 football championships have been marred by racism before the opening match kicked off.
For months the much-anticipated tournament has been discussed in light of concerns over host nations Poland and Ukraine's right wing "ultra" fans' racist behaviour.
At an open training session in Krakow, Poland, Dutch players were subjected to monkey chants with Holland captain Mark van Bommel branding the incident "a real disgrace".
Governing body of European football, Uefa, has vowed to crack down on racism at the championships after acknowledging the abuse which happened at Wisla Krakow's Miejski Stadium. Uefa confirmed they would consider increasing the number of stewards at open training sessions in order to eject fans if there was a repeat incident.
They 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 not yet received any formal complaint from the KNVB (Dutch football association).
"Should such behaviour happen at further training sessions, Uefa would evaluate the operational measures to be taken to protect the players. Uefa has a zero-tolerance policy when it comes to discriminatory behaviour and has given the power to referees to stop matches in case of any repeated racist behaviour."
The abuse of Holland's black players was said to be bad enough for the squad to move their equipment and training drills as far away as possible from the chanters. Former Holland and Chelsea star Ruud Gullit, now a Uefa representative, said: "Everybody was very, very upset."
Van Bommel told anyone who denied the incident was racially motivated to "open your ears", adding: "If you did hear it and don't want to hear it, that is even worse."
There has been a lack of clarity over the best way to respond to racist chants during competitive matches. Uefa president Michel Platini said referees would halt or even abandon matches if there was serious racism from the stands during Euro 2012. Mario Balotelli - whose Italy side are also based in Krakow - had threatened to walk off in protest if he was racially abused during games but Platini warned that any player who did so would be yellow-carded.
Such were the fears over racism the families of two of England's black players, Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain and Theo Walcott, have already decided against travelling to the tournament because of the potential problems.