Ukraine football chief hits back at England's racism complaints

The country's leading football figure has questioned the validity of criticism from the United Kingdom, citing the omission of Rio Ferdinand from the Three Lions squad
 Kris Voakes
 In Kiev
The president of the football federation of Ukraine, Grygoriy Surkis, has hit back at claims that racism is rife in his country, suggesting that England should get its own house in order before complaining.

Former Three Lions defender Sol Campbell had warned of the dangers of racism in Poland and Ukraine prior to the tournament after being shown footage filmed by BBC's 'Panorama'.

Additionally, the families of Theo Walcott and Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain refused to travel to the host nations in fear of race related attacks, but the FFU president was keen to defend Eastern European football.

"I want to pay attention to the fact that sometimes it happens in the country where football was born," he told

"In England, the national team has not brought a player [Rio Ferdinand] because of a conflict over racism. 

"That is enough, [so let's] focus on the important things."

Fears peaked ahead of the tournament when several Dutch players reported racist abuse during a training session, but Surkis played down such events.

"Everybody knows that there can be individual cases in our stadiums, but I don't think that we should pay attention to these individual cases," he continued.

"We made preventative measures, and we try to fight this racism thing, but the tournament has started and I don't think that that we should talk about racism in Ukraine.

"I think that you should be sure that it's not a problem in Ukraine, because there was no case connected to racism before the tournament or during the tournament so far, and I really hope there will be no such case."

Borys Kolesnikov, the country's Deputy Prime Minister, believes that racism is not common in Ukraine, and that it is only perpetrated by "crazy people", the likes of which are found in every country.

"I want to say that in our country we had years when we were a part of the Soviet Union," he told

"Millions of foreigners arrived from Africa, from Latin America and other parts of the world, so not in the Soviet Union, in Ukraine. There was no racism.

"Of course, crazy people you can find in every country, but I don't think that it is common, and it is not even a system thing. I think it's just provocation to say such a word."