Israel FA to name and shame its ‘racist’ fans


The Israel FA is investigating reports of racism against Arab players after last month’s Euro 2016 qualifier at Jerusalem’s Teddy Stadium.

Following the 1-0 defeat to Belgium, Grasshoppers striker Moanes Dabour and Maccabi Haifa’s Taleb Tawatha alleged a security guard at the final whistle said: 'I’m sure you’re happy. You don’t care about the national team.'

There were also reports of Jewish fans behind the substitutes’ bench cursing Israel’s Arab players during the match. Dabour said: "It's a disgrace that a guard can talk in such a way to Israel team players. I have no doubt he was being racist and I reported it to the IFA."

Israel FA spokeswoman Michal Grundman told the JC: “The day after the match the IFA contacted the security company and Jerusalem Municipality to ensure that those responsible for the racist actions heard by those on the bench are identified."

Itzik Shanan, head of the NIF KIO Israel anti-racism in football campaign, also waded in by demandng action following the race row probe.

He said: "The behaviour of the fans towards the Arab players was despicable and we feel certain that the Israel FA will handle the matter with the seriousness it deserves."

Back-to-back home defeats have left Israel with an uphill task of qualifying automatically from Group B.

Israel is still well-positioned to finish third in the group and make the play-offs.

But manager Eli Guttman has not given up hope of a higher finish.

He said: “To finish second we need to take points away to Bosnia and Wales.

"If we put in the kind of fighting performance we saw in the second half against Belgium, that is possible.

"It’s a shame we just could not put the ball in the net. I believe in this team and I’m 100 per cent behind them. Look at the table.

"We are only two points off top place. It’s one point less than I thought, but we can still make it up."

* In response to the Palestinian FA’’s resolution submitted for next month’s FIFA Congress to have Israel suspended from international competition, UEFA President Michel Platini has told their Executive Committee member Avi Luzon: “I’ll stand by Israel and support it, together with other countries."

* Leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv beat second-place Hapoel Beer Sheva 3-1 on Monday to open an eight-point gap at the top of Ligat Ha’Al.

The win virtually assures a hat-trick of league titles.

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