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Lech Poznan fans protest immigration of refugees by boycotting Europa League opener

Rohan Menon
Modified 18 Sep 2015, 21:18 IST
Lech Poznan display their hostility towards refugees in Poland (Image source: 101GreatGoals)

While most of the clubs across Europe are showing their support towards the refugees, Polish football club Lech Poznan is completely against the cause, The Guardian reported. The supporters carried out a planned boycott during the Europa League match against Portuguese club Belenenses, as they were against UEFA’s decision to donate a euro from every ticket sold to the refugee cause.

The Inea Stadium which had an average attendance of  20,000 people last season, saw a small crowd of 3,000 supporters on the day. The match ended in a tie, with both teams finishing goalless. 

The fans were clearly against the idea of refugees moving to Poland and put up a banner which read “Stop Islamization” over one of the stadium entrances. This though was not the first time that the team’s supporters committed such an act. On a previous occasion, the team hung a banner that read “This is obvious and simple for us, we do not want refugees in Poland”.

While Poznan was the only club to participate in a boycott, cases of the anti-refugee movement have also been reported in Olympique Lyonnais from Ligue 1 and Maccabi Tel Aviv. The Bundesliga and the Premier League teams though do not share this sentiment and have shown their support towards refugees on several occasions.


Other leagues support the refugee’s cause

The trend started in Germany where several teams put up “Refugee Welcome” banner, but not too long after that the movement crossed the English Channel and caught up with British Clubs.


Upon FC Porto’s president Jorge Nuno Pinto da Costa suggestion to UEFA president Michel Platini, around 80 clubs under the association in the Champions League and the Europa League had pledged to donate an euro from every ticket they sold from their first home game to the refugee cause. 

Amongst these clubs were Manchester United from the Premier League and Celtic from the Scottish Premiership.

Celtic chief executive Peter Lawwell who empathised with the refugees said: "From Glasgow we have watched in horror as this crisis has unfolded. Clearly we are not able to comprehend what these people, in their thousands and of all ages, are going through, but we feel compelled to help in any way we can."

Current Bundesliga league leaders Borussia Dortmund though were one of the few clubs who showed their support close to the initial stage of the crisis. They went so far as to invite 220 refugees to their Europa League qualifier match against Ballklubb when they won 7-2. 

Published 18 Sep 2015, 20:57 IST
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