Apology in 'civilised whites' row12/06/2012 - 20:23:02
The deputy mayor of Gdansk has apologised for comments in which he praised football supporters for behaving like white civilised people.
Andrzej Bojanowski made the controversial remarks in a radio interview and quickly moved to retract them after he was criticised for racism.
“I thank residents and city employees for behaving like normal civilised white people toward our guests who have in turn also behaved like normal white people,” he said in the broadcast.
A few hours after the interview he spoke to local newspaper, Gazeta Wyborcza, and apologised.
“I apologise to anyone I may have hurt with the clumsy phrasing I used this morning in a live broadcast. I simply wanted to thank residents and guests, whatever the colour of their skin,” he wrote.
“I wanted to praise all the inhabitants of the town of liberty and solidarity. We have shown that everyone can act and enjoy the match and our cultures in happiness together.”
Local translators said the Polish phrase he used during the broadcast was not intended to cause offence but when put into English it may have been construed as racist or offensive.
The Polish anti-racism Foundation for Freedom said the ill-judged remarks highlighted how racist stereotypes were rooted in the language of the country.
The group also said it was certain no offence had been intended.
Gdansk is one of four Polish cities hosting the Euro2012 tournament, along with four cities in Ukraine.
Spain and Italy played in Gdansk on Sunday and the city will host Ireland versus Spain on Thursday night where Giovanni Trapattoni’s men face a must-win game.