Is­rael joins Euro­pean leagues in bat­tle against the soc­cer big­ots


FOOT­BALL NEWIs­rael Fund’s Let’s Kick Racism Out of Is­raeli Foot­ball held anti-racism pre-match events be­fore all of Is­rael’s Pre­mier League matches last week­end.

The events were within the frame­work of those held in 38 coun­tries across Europe by Foot­ball Against Racism in Europe (FARE). The cen­tral event be­fore the match fea­tur­ing Be­tar Jerusalem and Mac­cabi Tel Aviv at Jerusalem’s Teddy Sta­dium was at­tended by Pa­trick Gasser, Uefa’s Di­rec­tor of So­cial Re­spon­si­bil­ity and a per­sonal emis­sary of Michel Pla­tini.

Bal­loons car­ry­ing the slo­gan “Kick Racism out of Foot­ball” were re­leased into the air and the play­ers’ shirts car­ried the FARE and Kick Racism out of Foot­ball logo.

The Swiss-based Mr Gasser told JC Sport that while he knew “Be­tar sup­port­ers have a cer­tain rep­u­ta­tion” for racist chant­ing — the right-wing Jerusalem crowd is in­fa­mous for its calls of “Death to Arabs” — he said he did not feel he had enough knowl­edge about the Is­raeli soc­cer scene to make any de­tailed com­ment, al­though he did add: “I know they [the IFA] have been work­ing on it for the past three to four years”.

Mr Gasser said Uefa was happy to team up with the FARE ini­tia­tive, not­ing that “racism is a prob­lem in so­ci­ety and we at UEFA want to fight it through foot­ball”. He said Uefa had a strate­gic part­ner­ship with FARE, and through them, non-gov­ern­ment or­gan­i­sa­tions such as the New Is­rael Fund, to help fight racism on the lo­cal level.

Be­tar won 2-0 to ex­tend their lead at the top of Is­rael’s Pre­mier League to three points while Mac­cabi are firmly rooted to the bot­tom.


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