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Czech football club cancels screening of documentary about Romani footballers after fans threaten violence

12.9.2016 19:20
FC Roma Děčín (PHOTO:  Karlovy Vary International Film Festival)
FC Roma Děčín (PHOTO: Karlovy Vary International Film Festival)

Because of serious threats made by a group of their fans, the Bohemians Praha 1905 football club has decided to cancel tomorrow's scheduled premiere of the film "FC Roma".  The documentary by Rozálie Kohoutová and Tomáš Bojar has been nominated for a Czech Lion award and has already won the Pavel Koutecký Prize.

"We understand the decision by the leadership of Bohemians - the safety of visitors comes first. However, it is not possible to back down when people use intimidation and threats to disagree with others or with projects that they define themselves as being against. Neither the producers of this film nor the organizations working with them will let themselves be intimidated. At this moment we are negotiating a new place and time for the premiere," the filmmakers posted to their Facebook page.

News server Aktuálně.cz reports that Bohemians and Sparta fans were planning to attend the film screening. "Some fans aren't open to the artistry of the film, just the other aspect of it. Hatred against Romani people, which the film touches on, unfortunately exists among the fans," Darek Jakubowicz, director of the Bohemians Praha 1905 club, told the news server.

The film familiarizes viewers with the racial issue through the eyes of a football club predominantly comprised of Romani players competing in a district championship. It will be available on general release this autumn.

Bojar said the film was screened at the Karlovy Vary festival in July and will also be shown at other festivals. Viewers in the town of Děčín, the hometown of FC Roma, were allowed to see the film prior to its premiere.

In 2014 several football clubs in the Czech Republic refused to play with the FC Roma club, but today the team is competing normally, not just winning by forfeit. The club from Děčín has also played several matches with diplomats from various embassies to the Czech Republic and played against the Karlovy Vary Film Festival football team this week to promote the documentary. 

bau, translated by Gwendolyn Albert
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