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Wiesenthal Centre to UEFA President: "Anti-Semitic Behaviour in Hungarian Football Requires Red Card-Style Penalty"

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"Until an adequate response by Budapest, the Hungarian Football Federation should be suspended from UEFA"

Paris, 21 August 2012

In a letter to UEFA President, Michel Platini, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, noted how "this summer, we joined UEFA, FARE and NEVER AGAIN in the "Respect" programme kick-off of EURO 2012 in Warsaw and commend your inspiration in the subsequent diminution of racist behaviour at the games in Poland and Ukraine"

Nevertheless, Samuels expressed grave concern at "the unresponsiveness of the authorities to increasing racist discourse and violence in Hungary, which also finds expression in football - the latest example at a friendly match between Hungary and Israel on 15 August in Budapest (search "Magyarorszag-Izrael/himnuszok" on YouTube). Hungarian fans bellowed "filthy Jews" and "Buchenwald" during Israel's national anthem and continued their abuse throughout the game, adding slogans extolling Hitler's ally, Italian Fascist Benito Mussolini"

The letter stressed that the left-wing local daily, Nepaszava, reported that "the organizers...had been warned in the run-up to the event, "wryly adding, "they were ready for provocations, even insults and in the end there were 'only' anti-Semitic chants. For the newspapers in our country the incident was trivial, not even worth covering"

Samuels described this situation as an, "anti-Semitism of indifference sadly reminiscent of the prelude to the Holocaust"

He added, "The Centre is also active, through CONMEBOL, in Latin America - particularly with the Argentine and Brazilian Football Associations. Indeed, following our protest to AFA President, Julio Grondona, the Chacarita Juniors Club saw its points disqualified for continuous anti-Jewish chanting in Buenos Aires matches

The Centre appealed to UEFA, arguing that "only a similar proactive Red Card style penalty for the Hungarian Football Federation (HFF) would result in their taking the required measures to contain this growing racist bigotry"

"Until an adequate response from Budapest,we urge that the HFF be suspended from UEFA," concluded Samuels

For further information contact Dr. Shimon Samuels on 0033(0)609770158, join the Center on Facebook,
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The Simon Wiesenthal Center is one of the largest international Jewish human rights organizations with over 400,000 member families in the United States. It is an NGO at international agencies including the United Nations, UNESCO, the OSCE, the OAS, the Council of Europe and the Latin American Parliament (Parlatino).