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September 4, 2019 1:56 pm

German Soccer Team Eintracht Frankfurt Disciplines Antisemitic Fans, but Denies Reports of Mass ‘Jewish Pig’ Chants Against Israeli Ref

avatar by Ben Cohen

Israeli UEFA official Orel Grinfeld was showered with antisemitic abuse by fans of Eintracht Frankfurt. Photo: Reuters.

Leading German soccer team Eintracht Frankfurt has denied that large numbers of its supporters barracked an Israeli referee with chants of “Jewish pig,” as the club announced that it was taking action against four fans for antisemitic incitement.

Orel Grinfeld — an Israeli FIFA match official who took charge during Eintracht’s 3-0 victory over French club Racing Strasbourg in their Europa League qualifying match on Aug. 29 — was subjected to chants of  “Judensau,” or “Jewish pig,” after he sent off Eintracht forward Ante Rebić just prior to half-time.

One spectator at the match, local politician Markus Eichmann, said he had witnessed a large number of home fans gathered in the “Kurve” section of the Eintracht stadium taking up the chant. Green Party MP Omid Nouripour, who chairs Eintracht’s fan club in the German parliament, also said he had spoken with witnesses to the antisemitic chant.

But in a statement on Tuesday, Eintracht Frankfurt denied that significant numbers of fans had shouted the word “Judensau” at Grinfeld. The club said that while a coarse personal insult was leveled at the Israeli referee, it had “no discriminatory or antisemitic character.”

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The club said it had reached this conclusion after checking security footage of the stadium and speaking with stadium staff and members of supporters’ groups. However, the club added that “there were individual cases of antisemitic comments by spectators over the course of the game,” and that legal action was now being pursued against four people.

In an interview with broadcaster DW last year, Stefan Minden — the vice president of Eintracht Frankfurt — insisted that the fight against racism had “become a part of the club’s identity.”

Acknowledging that racism remained a “significant issue” for the club, Minden said, “Cultural diversity is part of our DNA, and it’s also part of the city of Frankfurt’s DNA, a city that sees itself as open to the world.”

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