Footballer kicked out in race row

By Danny Caro, April 16, 2009

A Maccabi Premier Division footballer has been kicked out of his club and another player fined following a row over the alleged racial abuse of a player of South American origin.

Montana Boca striker Virgil Levy claims he was called “a Paki” in a row after his side had scored a late winner in their league fixture. He also says he was called “Asian” and was “told that I should not belong in the community or in the league”.

No action was taken by the referee, who has not responded to our requests for an interview.

It is unclear who said what but, following an internal investigation, Glenthorne expelled midfielder Ashley Rubin. Manager Ian Cohen said: “As far as I am concerned, racism is a non-starter. But on this occasion, I believe that it was purely a piece of football banter that got out of hand.”

The Maccabi League has referred the matter to the London FA “in view of our participation in the Respect campaign”.

Mr Rubin, 22, insisted: “I am not a racist. I called him a Pakistani, not a Paki. It is minor and pathetic.”

The east London club also fined Jamie Cooper £100 and gave him a severe warning about his conduct. The club said the money would be donated to a charity of Mr Levy’s choice and apologised for any distress caused to him and his teammates.

But Mr Levy, 29, an insolvency practitioner who has played in the Maccabi League for five years, said: “The Glenthorne players are old enough to know better. I felt confused and disappointed when I heard the tirade.”

A spokesman for north London-based Montana praised Glenthorne for its prompt disciplinary action and hoped the London FA would impose a “suitable punishment”.

Last updated: 12:51pm, April 16 2009