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Police investigating two anti-Semitic incidents in UK football

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Two cases of anti-Semitic language used by soccer fans at English soccer matches are being investigated by the Football Association (FA) and the police.
by JACK MILNER | Feb 15, 2018

The first took place last week during a match between Chelsea and Watford which Chelsea lost 4-1. Chelsea is owned by Jewish Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich but has a history of anti-Semitism. A Jewish fan said he was “left disgusted” by anti-Semitic chanting from fellow Blues supporters, reporting the incident to stewards at the ground.

In the other incident, police are investigating allegations that Liverpool supporters directed anti-Semitic language at Tottenham Hotspur players after the two sides’ heated Premier League match on Sunday.

Video footage appeared to show a Liverpool fan in the Main Stand section of Anfield, the home stadium of Liverpool, using the term “Jewish c**ts” moments after Spurs forward Harry Kane converted a contentious penalty to draw the match level at 2-2.

Other fans were also heard calling Tottenham players “Yid c**ts”, according to a journalist covering the game.

He said: “There were about three or four people that passed me on the way out of Anfield who were engaged in it. One supporter spotted some Spurs fans celebrating Kane’s penalty and started screaming ‘Yid c**s’ repeatedly as he left, and was gesturing towards them.

“I’m sure [Liverpool’s] stadium cameras would pick him out if they provided it. Others just shouted about ‘Yids’.”

It was clearly caught on video, which is now in the hands of the police. Tottenham Hotspur, based in north London, have a long association with the local Jewish community, and racial epithets related to Jews have long been used to abuse the club’s players and fans.

Liverpool Football Club condemned any anti-Semitic abuse and said they were working with Merseyside Police, Tottenham Hotspur and anti-discrimination organisation Kick It Out to identify those responsible.

A club spokesperson said: “We investigate all reported incidents at Anfield and anyone found guilty of such an offence would receive a lifetime stadium ban.”

Police have asked people who witnessed such an incident, or who have any footage, to come forward “so we can investigate this matter fully”.

A Tottenham Hotspur spokesperson said anti-Semitic language was “wholly unacceptable”, adding that the club hoped that any fans found to have used abusive language would be dealt with “in the strongest way”.

Reacting to last week’s incidents at the Chelsea versus Watford match, Chelsea released this statement on Monday: “Anyone found guilty of anti-Semitic language or behaviour will face action from the club, including bans, and will be asked to attend equality education courses. We welcome the fact that Chelsea fans have reported this behaviour, which shames our club.”

Last week, the club launched a ‘”Say No to Anti-Semitism” campaign as part of its Building Bridges initiative, launched in 2010 to promote equality and celebrate diversity both within the football club and in the wider community.

 

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