Football documentary will put serious issue on the map


Ivor Baddiel's short film highlighting antisemitism in football launches early next year, and for the people in the community who care passionately about the issue, it cannot come soon enough.

The Y-Word deals with a topic close to the bone among all Jewish supporters, as well as many Sunday morning footballers who have suffered verbal provocation against non-Jewish opposition.

Earlier this week I attended a Kick It Out reception where Jonathan Metliss, a long-time campaigner, told me about yet more hissing noises, mimicking Nazi gas chambers, coming from the Chelsea end at last weekend's derby against Spurs at White Hart Lane.

While the time, effort and resources that campaigns such as Kick It Out put towards issues such as colour, ability and xenophobia, the topic of antisemitism continues to be brushed under the carpet, falling into the same category as the other isms. I believe that our community needs a figurehead in the shape of Avram Grant, Yossi Benayoun, Tal Ben Haim or Ronnie Rosenthal to give it some oomph.

My hope is that the Y-Word turns heads and creates awareness to a bigger issue that will never disappear until it is dealt with - with the same firm hand as racism.

● If you're hoping to see top Jewish talent at the BBC Sports Personality of the Year awards on Sunday then think again. Although it's been a good year for members of the community, the majority are far from the world stage. But if push came to shove, Oldham Athletic midfielder Dean Furman would get my vote with long-distance runner Richard Goodman winning the junior award.

● The theory that northern Jewish footballers are tougher than their southern counterparts will be put to the test in the new year after the council advised MJSL teams that changing rooms at Frederick Road in Salford will be closed due to a burst water pipe. This means that players will have to change pitchside or in their cars.

The football programme north and south closes down for two weeks after this Sunday. The MJSL's top clash sees leaders Manchester Maccabi 2nd travel to fourth-placed South Manchester Sports Club 2nd. In London, Faithfold new boy Mike Pearson comes face-to-face with former club London Maccabi Lions A just two weeks after moving.

● It's been a good week for JC MSFL referees. Last week Robert Bernardout received criticism from a Division Two manager but I want to thank him for going above and beyond the call of duty to ensure that North London Raiders A's match against Hendon United Sports Club A went ahead. He adopted a very hands-on approach, using common sense to delay the kick-off and allow the firm pitch at Hadley FC time to thaw before pulling a heavy roller over a rock-hard penalty area.

And in another match, Warwick Blake received high praise from both sets of managers after the game between UJIA and Zig Zag. Darren Rolfe, the UJIA boss, said: "Warwick is a superb ref. He explained everything and kept the game flowing." Zig Zag manager Neal Cohen described Blake as "the best I've seen in 10 years".

● Young golfer Marc Brenner has won the annual Outstanding Achievement award from the Essex Golf Union.

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