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Sunday, February 24, 2008

Anti-Semitism in European soccer

Labor MP John Mann is presenting a report to a Jerusalem conference that will highlight thirty recent instances of anti-Semitism in European soccer. The countries that are the main offenders are England and Poland.
Mann, a Labor MP who chairs the all-party parliamentary group against anti-Semitism, wrote in the report that "the oldest hatred - anti-Semitism - continues to rear its ugly head in football."

The report, entitled "Anti-Semitism in football - a scar on the beautiful game," was written by Mann along with English activist Jonny Cohen and will be presented at the Global Forum against Anti-Semitism.

While anti-Semitism was seen as a significant problem in soccer during the 1970s, especially in the UK, it has been perceived to have been all but wiped out with the increased professionalism in the sport in recent years.

However, Mann stresses in the report that "far-Right thugs and other extremists have attempted to pollute the beautiful game."

Last week Chelsea's Israeli manager Avraham Grant was sent a package containing an anti-Semitic message and a white powder with which the sender threatened to kill the former Maccabi Tel Aviv coach.
The article goes on to cite anti-Semitic occurrences in Poland and England:
The report notes that "in Polish matches fans routinely call each other 'Jews' as a term of abuse.

One example detailed occurred in May 2006 during a Polish cup tie between Stal and Resovia Rzeszow, where "fans of Stal exhibited a huge flag with the motto: "H5N1 - not only one Jew will die" and a banner with a Celtic cross - a racist symbol of white power."

Another occurred in Krakow in March 2007, when fans of Legia Warsaw chanted "Jews, Jews, Jews, [the] whole of Poland is ashamed of you."

In the UK, the report says, fans of Arsenal chanted "Send the Jews to Auschwitz."
The report concludes that
clubs which do nothing to challenge the behavior of fans should be held to account and league points should be deducted "if the need arises."
Of course, it might help if FIFA - the world governing body - were not anti-Semitic.


At 9:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Let's remind ourselves that less than six decades ago, Europe was awash with the blood of Jews. And who does Israel welcome (a la the Quartet) to arbitrate its fate? The Europeans!

Who just passed a resolution condemning Israel's Gaza policy and siding with Hamas. In things soccer and politics, not much has changed in 60 years and if it has - its appreciably for the worse.


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