'Abused' footballer attacks FA inaction

By Marcus Dysch, October 1, 2009
Virgil Levy: has not played since (Photo: Ben Angel)

Virgil Levy: has not played since (Photo: Ben Angel)

A Maccabi Premier Division footballer who claims he was called “a Paki” by an opponent in April is outraged that the London FA has yet to hold a hearing into the incident.

Virgil Levy, who is of South American origin, also alleges that he was called “Asian” and told that he “should not belong in the community or in the league” during the game between his team, Montana Boca, and Glenthorne in April.

No action was taken by the match officials when he reported the abuse. But following an internal investigation, Glenthorne expelled midfielder Ashley Rubin and his team-mate Jamie Cooper was fined £100 and given a severe warning about his conduct.

The Maccabi League referred the matter to the London FA, which this week blamed the delay on problems identifying who was responsible for the alleged abuse.

This explanation did not satisfy Mr Levy, an insolvency practitioner. “There was a hearing scheduled for July and the offending party said he could not attend, so it was adjourned. Since then nothing’s happened.

“I suffered a lot of abuse at school but at the age of 29 I didn’t expect it would be carrying on. It’s what arrogant young Jewish kids do these days. I just have to get on with it.”

Mr Levy has not played in the league since the Glenthorne game and has vowed not to participate in any Maccabi sport until the disciplinary matter is resolved.

A Montana Boca spokesman said: “What amazes us is that fines [for match offences] arrive within days and are expected to be paid almost immediately, but a pertinent issue like this, which is high on the governing body’s agenda, is not dealt with as a priority. We fail to understand why it is taking so long.”

Glenthorne representatives declined to comment this week. In April, Mr Rubin denied being a racist, adding: “I called him a Pakistani, not a Paki. It is minor and pathetic.”

Confirming that two hearings had been adjourned, London FA chief executive David Fowkes said: “We have had information that the wrong person was charged and we have now quashed that charge and raised new charges.

“We have fresh evidence against the person we believe is the correct alleged offender.”

The FA attempted to deal with racist incidents within 28 days of a charge being made, but delays were possible if those facing allegations requested an adjournment.

Mr Fowkes could not say when Mr Levy’s case would be concluded.The Maccabi League declined to comment on the matter while it was under FA investigation.

Sports Minister Gerry Sutcliffe wrote to the Football Association last week threatening to cut government funding for the sport’s grassroots over the FA’s handling of issues including racism.

Last updated: 5:18pm, October 1 2009