UEFA Announces Disciplinary Penalty Against FC Union Berlin Following Antisemitic Abuse at Match Against Maccabi Haifa
The governing body of European soccer on Friday announced disciplinary action against German club Union Berlin following the antisemitic actions of some of its fans during a Europa Conference League match against Israeli side Maccabi Haifa.
Two section of Union Berlin’s stadium reserved for home team supporters will be closed for the match against Dutch side Feyenoord on Nov. 4, UEFA said. UEFA ordered the display a banner with the wording “#NoToRacism” and the UEFA logo in those sectors of the stadium.
Union Berlin play at the Olympic Stadium in the German capital — a venue originally built for the 1936 Olympic Games staged by the Nazi regime.
Union’s 3-0 victory over Maccabi Haifa was marred by ugly antisemitic chants and threatening behavior directed at the Maccabi fans by a section of Union’s support. In a tweet posted during the match, members of the German-Israeli Society Youth Forum who were in attendance reported that they were “threatened by Union fans, pelted with beer and insulted, among other things, as ‘sh**ty Jews.’”
In a separate report, the Fare network — a Europe-wide group combating racism in soccer — said that “eyewitnesses were shocked by the levels of antisemitism” at the match. The group tweeted a photo of a man draped in Union Berlin’s red colors proffering a Nazi salute towards the Maccabi fans.
One supporter at the match recalled that “someone tried to set an Israeli flag on fire and there were chants of ‘f***ing Jews,’” emphasizing as well that “a handful of people were pestering us” and that a number of Union fans had protested, interposing themselves between the Israeli visitors and their would-be assailants.