Wiesenthal Centre to UEFA: “Hate has no pleace in Soccer, 'the Beautiful Game'.”
April 20, 2021
PARIS - In a letter to UEFA (Union of European Football Associations) President, Aleksander Ceferin, Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed disgust in “last week’s KNVB Cup final in the Netherlands between Arnhem-based SBV Vitesse and the winner, Amsterdam-based AFC Ajax, that was besmirched by Vitesse fans chanting: ‘Hamas, Hamas, Jews to the Gas’.”
The letter stressed that “this was a clear reference to the mass gassing of Jews in the Nazi death camps and to Ajax Football Club’s history of Jewish support in pre-Holocaust Netherlands.”
The Centre noted, “though Vitesse club manager, Pascal Van Wyk, denounced the offence as ‘deeply saddening that a small group of supporters misbehaved in such a way,’ this was patently insufficient to prevent a recurrence.”
Samuels recalled “similar circumstances occurring in Argentina, when Boca Juniors fans shouted racist chants against indigenous Bolivian players. Our intervention resulted in the club’s removal to the bottom of the League. That method was adopted as a precedent by FIFA... an effective deterrent!”
“Mr. President, we turn to UEFA not only for statements, but also to see that SBV Vitesse Arnhem - currently 4th in the Eredivisie - be moved to the bottom of the League, as a message that hate has no place in Soccer, ‘the Beautiful Game’,” concluded Samuels.
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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).