Chelsea: formal complaint over Malaysian 'antisemitism'
Chelsea football club have made an official complaint following what they described as antisemitic abuse directed at Israeli player Yossi Benayoun at a match in Kuala Lumpur.
The Israeli became the first footballer from the Jewish state to play in a match in Malaysia in many years, when he helped Chelsea beat Malaysian XI last week.
But despite being allowed to play – Israelis Tal Ben Haim and Avram Grant were denied visas to enter the Muslim majority country for matches in recent years – Benayoun's presence did not go smoothly.
Instead, many in the 85,000-strong crowd jeered and booed him when he came in contact with the ball and he was substituted at half-time.
In response, Chelsea FC said in a statement that they had lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian side.
They said that while most fans behaved appropriately, but added: "We believe Yossi was subjected to antisemitic abuse by a number of supporters at the game.
"Such behaviour is offensive, totally unacceptable and has no place in football."
They said that while the Malaysian trip was in general a positive experience, a complaint was still necessary.
"It is a shame, therefore, that the behaviour of a minority of supporters is also a memory we take away."
Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust said: "If anti-Israeli abuse is antisemitic in its expression, then it should not be tolerated in football or in any other sphere of life."