ERRC & FARE Network Take Further Action against Racist England Football Fans

29 July 2016

Budapest, Paris, 29 July 2016: Following the call to action statement sent by the ERRC on 22nd June 16 to football authorities, the ERRC and the FARE Network has today called for further action to address the actions of England football fans who terrorised Romani children during the course of this year’s Euro 16 Football Championships.

In light of recent evidence uncovered in an investigative video piece by Channel 4 news, we are urging the Public Prosecutors, and Prefects for Equality, in Lille and Nice to identify the perpetrators of these racist assaults and take appropriate action against them, in coordination with the English Football Association and UEFA if necessary.

The video published by Channel 4 news shows an England supporter in Lille offering Romani children €5 to perform oral sex on him or drink his urine before telling them to “Fuck off you Romanian bastards”. This is around the same time that England fans were witnessed throwing coins and bottles on the floor for Romani children to pick up and fight over. The nature of the abuse is further underscored by the fans referring to the children as ‘gypos’ who will come to England to “rob” them. In addition, the Russian journalist who filmed the football fans claimed that “police were not far [away], but they did nothing”.

Another incident filmed by Channel 4 in Nice on the 26th June, shows England fans to be fully aware of the specific racism which they are exhibiting. In broad daylight, England fans refer to Roma as ‘Pakis of Europe’ before chanting that they ‘all hate Pakis’, which is concerning on multiple levels. The most distasteful example of the deliberate and specific nature of anti-Roma abuse comes when England fans up the ante and chant that they will ‘gas you all’, in direct reference to the Romani holocaust where between 500 thousand and 1.5 million Roma perished at the hands of the Nazis and their collaborators.. 

The ERRC and FARE Network are appalled by the unacceptable and intimidating behavior of the group of fans in this video. 

Given the serious nature of these incidents involving children, the ERRC calls for the Prefects for Equal Opportunities in Lille and Nice to issue a prompt, public response condemning the actions of these fans; and to take measures for protecting Roma children’s rights in accordance with article 2 of the International Convention on the Rights of the Child.

It is clear that aggressive, racially motivated incidents occurred in Lille and Nice. Thus, the full investigation and prosecution (if appropriate) of those involved is a matter of protecting the rights of both the children affected and the entire Roma community. We call on the Public Prosecutors to investigate these cases in accordance with the existing protocols, guidelines and decisions taken by their respective departments set to determine the racist motivations of the perpetrators.

“A racist minority of England football fans are behaving as if they are above the law. This cannot be allowed to continue. These horrendous acts of outright racism and child abuse are unacceptable and would not be tolerated if the victims belonged to another ethnic group, so why are the abuses allowed to occur time and time again against Roma? Those responsible must be publically condemned and the authorities must seriously investigate this as a crime of racial hatred.” - Ðorđe Jovanović, ERRC President

Our communications to the Public Prosecutors for Lille and Nice are available in English and French:

Lille – English, Francais, Nice – English, Francais.

Our communications to the Prefects for Equality in Lille and Nice are available in English and French:

Lille – English, Francais, Nice – English, Francais.

For more information contact:

Jonathan Lee
Communications Officer
European Roma Rights Centre
0036 1 413 22 44
jonathan.lee@errc.org

Radost Zaharieva
Country Facilitator for France
European Roma Rights Centre
0033 7 61 06 06 78
radost.zaharieva@errc.org 

Mariana Linhan
Media Officer
FARE Network 
0044 20 7253 6795

donate now

Challenge discrimination, promote equality

be informed

Receive our public announcements Receive our Roma Rights Journal

news portal

The latest Roma Rights news and content online

join us

Become a part of the ERRC's activist network in Europe