Beckham urges England fans to 'stay safe' at Euros

01 June 2012 03:17

David Beckham has called on England supporters to stay safe when they travel to Ukraine to watch the team compete at Euro 2012.

Sol Campbell, a former England defender who played international football alongside Beckham, has warned fans to stay away from the tournament which is being co-hosted by Poland because of concerns over racism and violence.

Racism has been a recurring problem in Ukrainian football and, with England due to face France and Ukraine in Donetsk as well as playing Sweden in the capital Kiev, Britain's Foreign Office has outlined the dangers to supporters.

"Although the vast majority of visitors experience no difficulties, foreign nationals have been the victims of violent crime in Kiev and other major cities," a Foreign Office statement in a fans' guide to the tournament read.

"In some cases, attacks have been racially motivated. Travellers of Asian or Afro-Caribbean descent and individuals belonging to religious minorities should take extra care."

England defender Joleon Lescott said his family had decided to stay at home before the warnings were issued, as travelling between the team's match venues promises to be a lengthy and expensive experience.

However, former England captain Beckham said supporters would not be deterred from following the national side.

"Our fans will do what they want," he told ITV's This Morning, a daytime television chat show, on Friday.

"They are passionate about watching England play and watching England perform and win. In the years I have played for England and seen them travel, there are no fans that travel like us."

Previous international tournaments have seen England fans be both the cause and the target of violence.

"They just need to stay safe," said Beckham. "It is as simple as that. We have had it in most competitions that I was involved in.

"There was always talk about our fans and whether they were going to be safe. At the end of the day you are not going to be able to stop fans travelling but everybody has to be sensible."

Meanwhile Beckham, now with the Los Angeles Galaxy, is aiming to be included as one of three-over age players in the Great Britain football team for the London Olympics, having been one of the sports stars who helped the UK capital win the right to stage this year's Games.

"I'm not nervous because I think at the end of the day I'm going to be here no matter what," he said.

"Obviously I've been an ambassador for the Olympics and the Olympic bid since we got it back in Singapore and it's something I've been very proud to be a part of.

"Being part of Seb's (Sebastian Coe, chairman of the London 2012 Organising Committee) team that has brought this amazing event to the east end of London where I'm from, I'm very proud of that.

"But obviously I'd love to perform, I'd love to play, I'm very proud to have played for my country (England) 115 times and obviously been captain of the country for quite a few games and quite a few years. I'd love to be involved, but we'll see."

Source: AFP