A RACISM MONITORING group tonight said they had reported Russian fans to UEFA for displaying a far-right extremist flag at the country’s match against old rivals Poland in Warsaw.
Rafal Pankowski, from the Football Against Racism in Europe group, which is backed by European football’s governing body, told AFP in a text message: “We reported it to UEFA before the game started.”
The flag, a red and black banner with runic symbols, was described by Pankowski as a “Hitler Youth emblem”.
The Russian football federation is already facing a potential UEFA fine after “Russian Empire” flags were seen at the country’s first match against the Czech Republic, which they won 4-1.
Such flags are seen as deeply provocative in parts of Eastern Europe, including Poland, that used to be under Moscow’s thumb. UEFA is also investigating claims that some Russia fans racially abused a black Czech Republic player with monkey chants.
Before kick-off, the near 10,000 Russian fans unfurled a giant flag of a sword-wielding warrior over the legend “This is Russia”, pictured, prompting Polish fans in the 50,000-seat National Stadium in Warsaw to jeer the Russian national anthem.
Meanwhile, at least two firerackers were thrown by Russian supporters after Alan Dzagoev put the visitors ahead in the game in the 37th minute, AFP reporters and photographers in the ground said. The game ended 1-1 but authorities are braced for unrest in the city tonight.