Is it really that bad? Football figures at odds over hate


Leading Jewish figures in football are at odds over the level of antisemitism in the game.

Anti-discrimination group Kick It Out reported last week that there were more antisemitic incidents in the first half of this season than during the entire 2013/14 campaign.

Lawyer Jonathan Metliss, who was a member of Kick It Out's advisory group for more than a decade, said the figures show that racism is "alive and kicking" and "as bad as it ever was".

But Maccabi GB chief executive Martin Berliner, who is on Kick It Out's Grassroots Guidance Group, said football is heading in the right direction and that the recorded rise in incidents is due to fans reporting more.

Mr Metliss, whose activist group Action Against Discrimination raised £33,000 for Kick It Out in October, said that the Jewish community and the Football Association were complacent over racism. Citing the FA's five-game ban for striker Nicolas Anelka who made an inverted Nazi salute, he said: "He should have been banned for life. The Jewish community should have put more pressure on the FA and generally."

He said there was no incentive for elite clubs to act. "The Premier League stadiums are full up, so why should the clubs bother? It doesn't affect the finances."

Mr Berliner said, however, that the key was more reporting. "You can send a text and then it can be dealt with without repercussions for you.

"I think the FA should take a lot of plaudits, and Kick It Out.

"We tried for a long time along with the CST to put it on the FA's radar; now they communicate with us regularly and take it seriously."

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