SWC to UEFA "The Hungarian Football Federation is Loath to Prevent Neo-Nazis from Turning Football Terraces into Rallying Grounds for Hate"

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"Only forceful intervention can ensure that games are stopped, hate mongers expelled and prosecuted, clubs disqualified and fined"

Paris, 26 August 2013

In a letter to UEFA (Union Of European Football Associations) President, Michel Platini, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre's Director for International Relations Dr. Shimon Samuels, drew attention to "the constantly recidivist behaviour of the Ferencvarosi FC of Hungary, especially in matches against MTK Budapest (ironically still perceived as associated with its pre-war Jewish support)".

The letter noted that "Ferencvarosi fans have iconized such Hungarian Nazi collaborators as Sandor Kepiro, implicated in a 1942 massacre in Novi Sad (now in Serbia). This month, again facing MTK, the fans raised a banner 'In Memoriam Laszlo Csatary', who had died aged 98 a few days earlier, awaiting trial for torture and deportation of over 15,700 Jews from the Kosice Ghetto (in Slovakia) sent to their deaths in Auschwitz.

Indeed, one of his victims was Alfred Brull, a Jewish leader of the MTK FC".
Samuels added that "in 2011, Dr. Efram Zuroff, our Centre's Chief Nazi hunter, had designated Csatary 'the Most Wanted War Criminal' , whereupon Ferencvarosi fans displayed a banner that read 'Efraim Zuroff''s Mother is a Whore' ", continuing , "in a friendly match last year, Hungary's National Team fans had welcomed Israel by booing it's National Anthem and chanting 'Buchenwald, stinking Jews'. Fined by FIFA, a World Cup qualifier against Romania last March was also condemned to be played in a closed stadium without spectators".

The letter argued that "Hungary is inflamed by the antisemitic and anti-Roma Jobbik Party and the - officially banned, but still active - paramilitary Magyar Garda. Yet, the Hungarian Football Federation (HFF/MLSZ), without foreign intervention, has been loath to contain neo-Nazi impact on the football terraces".

Samuels recalled "working with UEFA in Warsaw last year, together with FARE (Football Against Racism in Europe) and Poland's Never Again, in support of your zero-tolerance policy against racism in football. Our Centre is also currently campaigning with the Football Associations of Argentina and Brazil for anti-racism in football legislation across Latin America".

He stressed that "at the instigation of the Wiesenthal Centre, the Argentine Football Association (AFA) Tribunal had imposed a unique penalty on the Chacarita Juniors FC for racist chanting. The disqualification of their points resulted in a painful drop in their division ranking. We are endorsing this precedent as a powerfully persuasive measure universally".

The Centre called for "UEFA's forceful intervention to ensure that the HFF/MLSZ adopt its zero-tolerance measures regarding all its clubs - beginning with their national team and Ferencvarosi. Games must be stopped to remove banners or during chanting and jeering; hate mongers expelled and prosecuted; clubs disqualified and fined".
"Hungarian football terraces cannot continue to be rallying-grounds for Hitler Youth-style heroization of mass murderers, intimidation and incitement to violence", concluded Samuels.

For further information please contact Shimon Samuels on 00(33)609770158, join the Center on Facebook, www.facebook.com/simonwiesenthalcenter, or follow @simonwiesenthal for news updates sent direct to your Twitter page or mobile device.

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).