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October 13, 2020 3:54 pm

Argentina’s National Soccer Association Adopts International Antisemitism Definition

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Argentina captain Lionel Messi arriving in Moscow for the 2018 World Cup. Photo: Reuters / Sergei Karpukhin.

Argentina’s national soccer association has adopted the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) definition of antisemitism in a bid to toughen its response to anti-Jewish bigotry.

The Argentine Football Association (AFA) adopted the definition — which diagnoses the nature of anti-Jewish hatred and provides various examples of its manifestation — at a meeting last week.

In a statement announcing the move, AFA’s president, Claudio “Chiqui” Tapia, said it was part of a broader initiative “to clearly combat racism, discrimination and antisemitism.”

The AFA also thanked the Los Angeles-based Simon Wiesenthal Center (SWC) for its guidance over the definition.

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The SWC’s international director, Shimon Samuels, said that the AFA’s decision was proof that “football, ‘the beautiful game,’ must build bridges and not be a vector of hate.”

Two-time World Cup winner Argentina — whose roster has included world-class players like Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta and Lionel Messi — is the first national association to have adopted the definition.

Over this year, several of Europe’s leading soccer club sides adopted the definition as well, in a bid to counter rising antisemitism and racism at soccer matches.

Chelsea of the English Premier League signed up to the definition in January, with five other top clubs — West Ham United, Crystal Palace, Bournemouth, Burnley, Brighton and Hove Albion — following suit shortly after.

In Germany, Bundesliga powerhouse Borussia Dortmund adopted the definition in February. The club’s chairman, Hans-Joachim Watzke, explained at the time that a visit to Yad Vashem, Israel’s national memorial to the Holocaust, had convinced him to do so.

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