Gdansk’s new PGE Arena is the only stadium in Poland and surely a rare case worldwide, where a specific ban on bananas has been introduced. To make it even more interesting, it’s said to prevent racism in the stands. Sport.pl reports.
In June Spain, Italy, Greece, Croatia, Ireland and Germany all played their games here while European Championship visited Central and Eastern Europe for the first time. Just a few days after Euro 2012 ended, new set of safety regulation was introduced.
Among those predictable and obvious, like guns, pyrotechnics or political/propaganda messages, one very unusual can be found. It’s the ban on bananas. This one was introduced only here at PGE Arena Gdansk, though new regulation were being established nationwide.
Why are the fruits listed equally with drugs, alcohol and all sorts of dangerous items? They may be used in racist incidents and according to Lechia Gdansk football club there was a risk of such events inside the new stadium.
Such thing happened once in the year-long history of PGE Arena. In April several people threw bananas from the fanatic section at two black players of Lechia. This incident was indeed racist, but at the same time it was instantly condemn by supporters groups themselves and never happened again. However, it’s no secret that there is a xenophobic fraction among the supporters of Lechia, who haven’t had any black-skinned player prior to recent years’ transfers.
Still, concerns over the need for such an unusual ban are being raised even by the players affected by April’s incident. Deleu, Brazilian defender addressed with the bananas, criticizes this measure. “It doesn’t make any sense to me, I don’t understand it. Bananas were thrown at us once. It was very upsetting, but was dealt with. There’s no problem like this anymore. So what, now when a family come to watch Lechia kids won’t be able to have a banana?”, Deleu asks.