The season is now 6/7 weeks old and it is now time for me to write my first article. The large 12-team divisions ensure a full programme for everyone to enjoy the next seven months with all the thrills and spills that football throws up. I won’t comment on individual teams suffice to say that I have enjoyed my visits around so far and have seen 12 of our members in action. In the main, the quality is good but discipline warrants a mention.
I can only re-iterate how lucky we are to have 100 per cent coverage by referees, but there are still far too many players being cautioned, especially for dissent and also dismissals for Violent Conduct. I can only say that this is completely unacceptable and really MUST improve. It needs to be emphasised by Management to players that the image of the league in particular and Maccabi movement in general is not acceptable and gets us a ‘bad press’.
The league, at its AGM, decided NOT to take advantage of the new Repeated (Roll-on Roll-off) Substitute system although it has been adopted for the National Maccabi Peter Morrison Trophy and will be monitored to see if it is a possible way forward. The scheme is only in situ for TWO seasons before it is reviewed by the International Board, who are the Law Makers.
* I hope you are the generation inspired by the Olympic and Paralympics games I must tell you that I enjoyed being involved as a volunteer.
* I am sure that everybody is acquainted with the events in the England under-21 match against Serbia during the week. No person, whatever, colour, creed or religious persuasion would condone what happened there. The message of hatred and intolerance that they have exhibited is not wanted in any part of football.
Maccabi GB, admirably led by Chief Executive Officer Martin Berliner, are in the forefront of campaigns to combat and try to stamp out Racism in Football which, of course runs alongside that of antisemitism. We are proud of the fact that we are an all-Jewish organisation and intend to keep it that way. This is why as a token of identity Maccabi GB is asking you to affix ‘iron-on’ badges to your kits. I know that, in this day and age, some people do not agree with our policy but, rest assured, were we to change, it would need to be all or nothing and we would lose our identity which deep own no-one wants to see happen.
Also, we live in a diminishing community and it is important to ensure that we play a part in retaining our identity.
I am sure that there are possibly some non-Jews registered in the league and I would say to anyone who is doing this knowingly, to examine their consciences and stop immediately. In the past, we have found teams who have abused our policy on a wholesale scale and they have been removed from membership.
I read in the JC this week that, in the wake of the John Terry matter, former FA chairman Lord Triesman, has received antisemitic letters. Be under no illusion, antisemitism still exists and it is our duty to police it and report it to the authorities. The CST and Maccabi GB need to be informed if you come across it be it at football matches or elsewhere in life.
* On a lighter note, what about dear old West Ham. Well, we’re not holding up the table but in fact playing very well and for the first time in years I am actually enjoying the matches at Upton Park.
Have a great season.
JCMaccabi (Southern) Football League