Chelsea: complaint over Benayoun abuse


Chelsea football club have made an official complaint following what they described as antisemitic abuse directed at Israeli player Yossi Benayoun at a match in Kuala Lumpur.

The Israeli became the first footballer from the Jewish state to play in a match in Malaysia in many years, when he helped Chelsea beat Malaysian XI last week.

But despite being allowed to play – Israelis Tal Ben Haim and Avram Grant were denied visas to enter the Muslim majority country for matches in recent years – Benayoun's presence did not go smoothly.

Instead, many in the 85,000-strong crowd jeered and booed him when he came in contact with the ball and he was substituted at half-time.

In response, Chelsea FC said in a statement that they had lodged a formal complaint with the Malaysian side.

They said that while most fans behaved appropriately, but added: "We believe Yossi was subjected to antisemitic abuse by a number of supporters at the game.

"Such behaviour is offensive, totally unacceptable and has no place in football."

They said that while the Malaysian trip was in general a positive experience, a complaint was still necessary.

"It is a shame, therefore, that the behaviour of a minority of supporters is also a memory we take away."

Mark Gardner of the Community Security Trust said: "If anti-Israeli abuse is antisemitic in its expression, then it should not be tolerated in football or in any other sphere of life."

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