Next week marks the 20th anniversary of Kick It Out – the organisation which campaigns against discrimination in football. However, the problem still lingers.
This week we are reflecting on a rather unfortunate incident that took place at a futsal match involving an exclusively Jewish team. Maccabi GB swiftly released a statement, citing “intimidating behaviour” towards their players, as well as “intimidating and aggressive behaviour” towards their fans. Their report – sent to the FA and CST – is currently being looked at and Maccabi GB are “confident” that both parties are taking this seriously and will deal with the matter in a “timely and proper manner”.
At the highest level, we have seen teams punished in a number of ways – ranging from a fine to being ordered to play behind closed doors for similar misdemeanours.
Futsal is very different to football. It’s virtually contact-free, yet still adrenalin-pumping and the atmosphere can reach fever pitch. But you couldn’t have blamed the Maccabi GB team for taking the law into their own hands and walking off the pitch until the offenders had been removed. On this occasion, they played on. If found guilty, the authorities must give the culprits more than a slap on the wrist.
Jose Mourinho recently talked about 19th century football. Let’s not go back to the dark old ages, please.
From Manchester to London, we have seen time and again players, teams and supporters being targeted for being Jewish, which last time I checked, wasn’t a crime. It happens from grass-roots upwards and has to stop now.
* When I mentioned to Hendon boss David Garbacz that the MGBSFL title race could be tighter than expected, he just laughed. Their destiny lies firmly in their hands, with two games remaining, but with matches against Oakwood and LML Blue to follow, a 1-0 win and a 2-0 defeat, either way around, would see them finish with an identical record as long-time leaders Norstar London Raiders, even wins, goals scored and conceded.
It would then come down to the head-to-head between the two teams, but they finished all square on both occasions. Whatever next? Alphabetical order or the drawing of lots, as has been suggested. I’ve seen nothing in the rule-book. I’d suggest a play-off.
Garbacz has another idea. He said: “If it happens, I’ll race Phil Peters over 100 yards to decide it, although he’d have to give me a 50-yard head-start!”
* It’d be great if Chas ‘n’ Dave could put something together to mark QPR reaching the play-off final. Here’s my suggestion for the first couple of lines. ‘Yossi’s on his way to Wembley. Benayoun’s gonna do it again ...’ Catchy, don’t you think?