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October 22, 2014 2:23 pm

UK Youth Soccer Team Facing Charges Following Anti-Semitic Outburst in Game Against Maccabi; Jewish Coach and Player Also Charged

avatar by Ben Cohen

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Manchester Maccabi's U-16 soccer team faced anti-Semitic abuse from their opponents at a match in early October. Image: Maccabi

Two youth soccer players and a coach have been charged by the Football Association in the English city of Manchester with discriminatory and improper conduct. The charges are connected to an ugly incident earlier this month, when Manchester Maccabi, a Jewish youth side, was compelled to leave the playing field after enduring a torrent of anti-Semitic invective during an Under-16 game against Curzon Ashton, another local side.

The Jewish Chronicle reported that one of the players who shouted anti-Semitic abuse “has been charged with ‘discrimination on the grounds of religion,’ while his club Curzon Ashton have also received a charge for a ‘failure to ensure players/spectators and/or club officials conducted themselves in an orderly fashion (aggravated by discrimination).'”

However, the paper added: “A Manchester Maccabi player has also been charged, with discrimination on the grounds of colour or race. If found guilty, the two boys face an immediate suspension of at least five matches. Manchester Maccabi manager Anthony Dennison has been charged with ‘improper conduct including foul and abusive language.’ Mr Dennison removed his team from the pitch with 10 minutes of the match to go after what he called ‘appalling behaviour’ during the Tameside League match, which Curzon Ashton were winning 9-2. The parties have until October 31 to respond to the charges.”

The development comes a few days after 2,500 protesters gathered in Manchester for a rally against a surge in anti-Semitism. According to the Community Security Trust, an official Jewish communal body, 52 anti-Semitic attacks were recorded in the Manchester area during the month of July, as Israel responded militarily to Hamas rocket attacks from Gaza.

Organizer Raphi Bloom told the Manchester Evening News:  “We consider the Rally against anti-Semitism held in Manchester on Sunday to have been a huge success.  2,500 Jews, Christians & Muslims from all over the UK stood shoulder to shoulder to protest anti-Semitism in the UK and to say loudly that the Jewish community has always been an asset to, and contributed to life in, the UK and should not be attacked for events that happen many thousands of miles away. Over 1,200 watched the rally online. These sentiments were echoed by the diverse range of speakers – most significantly by 92 year old Holocaust survivor Henry Chaim Ferster and MPs Jim Murphy, Ivan Lewis and Graham Evans. We will continue to fight and expose anti-Semitism wherever we find it and we urge our fellow citizens to join us in this battle.”

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