Antisemitism row at Sunday FA Cup

By Danny Caro, February 4, 2010
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A Sunday FA Cup match ended in chaos after a player was sent off for protesting that he had been racially abused.

MSFL Premier Division North West Neasden A are to be reported to the FA after players rounded on the referee for not taking action over striker Tony Keterman’s claim that he was called a “****** nosed ****”.

It came on the same day another team playing non-Jewish opposition were subjected to racial abuse during a Herts Senior League game.

The Neasden incident happened during the first half of the side’s clash with Essex Sunday Corinthian League Sungate in Ilford.

Neasden were awarded a penalty and substitute Daniel Cole protested from the sidelines that the offender should be sent off for a professional foul.

What happened next is disputed between the two sides but, according to Neasden joint-manager Jamie Cole, a Sungate fan responded with an antisemitic insult.

Keterman, 23, tried to intervene but claimed he too was then abused, this time by an opposing player. He then ran over to the referee and asked him if he had heard the insult, repeatedly shouting it at the official. He continued to protest after the referee had confirmed with the linesman that neither official had heard it — and was dismissed.

Keterman said: “In hindsight, I wish I’d have hit the guy and deserved to be sent off. I still cannot understand why I was sent off. I did nothing wrong.

“I feel like the Sungate player has won as he’s got away with it. I feel a big sense of injustice. I dread to think that I’ll get banned for my actions.

“After the game, some members of the Sungate team apologised for the incident. They looked very embarrassed. I have no issue with any other players. I went over to the player who had insulted me and said: “Well done you antisemitic ****. I didn’t shake his hand.”

Sungate manager Paul Davenport confirmed that he “is aware of the allegations and has spoken to the player in question who denied any wrong-doing”. He said: “As a club, we don’t tolerate anything like antisemitic abuse but from our viewpoint, nothing untoward was said. It’s an awkward situation as it’s Neasden’s word against ours. There’s nothing else we can do until the FA say that we have a case to answer.”

Keterman, a currency broker, revealed that he had been subjected to racist abuse in an earlier round. “I told the ref who said that if it happened again he would abandon the game and award the match to us,” he said. “These incidents have made me ask myself, is it worth playing Sunday football?”

There were ugly scenes at the final whistle as a group of Neasden players again, remonstrated with the referee.

Tony Sharples, chairman of the London FA, watched the match. He said: “I’m aware of the allegations, as is the referee. These have been included in his report to the FA who are investigating the matter.

“I did not hear any antisemitic comments, and I can confirm that the ref didn’t either.”

But MSFL chairman David Wolff, who was also there, said: “I heard it. But you have to take antisemitic remarks
on the chin. It’s there and it always will be but you have to ignore it and deal with it as a lot of people are ignorant and don’t know what a Jew is. It was just banter intended to wind them up.”

Jamie Cole said: “I cannot condone my players crowding the referee. However, my team reacted to antisemitic abuse which was reported to the
referee.

“I cannot, however, accept and wouldn’t expect any member of the Jewish faith to accept antisemitic remarks and merely dismiss them as good old fashion banter intended to ‘wind someone up’. Also, in this day and age, such situations cannot be put down to ignorance.

“I just hope the FA supports us and the Jewish population as a whole in the same manner. We shall see but I won’t hold my breath.”

There was another flashpoint in the Herts Senior County League match involving Lions and Baldock Town where a Lions player was called a “big-nosed Jewish **** and Jew boy”.

Baldock Town manager Steve King confirmed that an antisemitic remark had been made by one of his players. “Tempers were running high and words were exchanged but my player apologised immediately,” he said.

“He regretted saying it. It was heat of the moment stuff. As soon as I found out what had been said, I apologised to the Lions manager. I have a lot of respect for London Lions. There is no animosity between the teams.”

Lions manager Tony Gold said: “It happens unfortunately as that’s the nature of some people. I put it down to ignorance.

“Some people think it’s clever. I want my players to stand up for themselves but tell them to walk away as they are better than that. You can’t let these things bring you down.

“But I don’t know how to eliminate the problem as it doesn’t make a difference if we report it as the FA do nothing despite saying that they want to kick racism out.”

    Last updated: 4:45pm, February 4 2010