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Polish premier dines with black MP to dispel racism allegations

posted 8 Jun 2012, 05:16 by Mpelembe Admin   [ updated 8 Jun 2012, 05:17 ]

Poland's prime minister, seeking to fend off allegations that Polish/Ukrainian Euro 2012 co-hosts are struggling with stadium racism, dines at the home of the country's first black parliamentarian and says Poland welcomes all fans.

LODZ, POLAND (JUNE 7, 2012) (TVN) - 
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk dined at the home of John Godson, Poland's first black parliamentarian on Thursday (June 7) in an attempt to dispel allegations of racism.
"The Poles are fully prepared for their role as hosts," Prime Minister Donald Tusk said after a meal of lamb and yams with the family of John Godson, a Nigerian-born politician who has lived in Poland for nearly two decades.

Sporting an English fans' lapel pin with the word "Welcome!", Tusk added: "I also want to cordially invite all British people. Nothing unpleasant will meet you here. I am sure Poland and Polish people will pass the hospitality test with flying colours."

Many Poles were angered by a British TV documentary which showed racist and anti-Semitic violence at stadiums in Poland and co-hosts Ukraine. Former England international footballer Sol Campbell warned fans to stay at home or risk coming back in a coffin.

Polish and Ukrainian officials say the report was one-sided and focused on the worst elements among the supporters of local clubs.

Poland has cracked down on hooliganism after several violent incidents at stadiums over the last year. Last month, police arrested suspected ringleaders of hard-core fan groups with ties to the drugs underworld.

Hooliganism surfaced as an issue in last year's general election and Tusk remains a target of insults by some hard-core supporters groups. He was heckled by several young men in front of Godson's apartment block in the central city of Lodz.