Wingate fans and players face hate abuse because of club’s Jewish roots


Wingate & Finchley football club has said its players and supporters experience antisemitic abuse at least once a season, because of the team’s Jewish roots.

Director of the Ryman Premier Division side Paul Lerman said: “We have had incidences of verbal antisemitism, which is unfortunate.”

“We’re doing everything we can to stamp it out.

“Typically we’ve seen racism against our black players which has been quite visible, but the fans have been on the end of antisemitic remarks because we are known as a Jewish club.

“Whether the fans are Jewish or not, people group the supporters together. It’s a group where everyone is assumed to be Jewish, even though the majority of our fans aren’t.

“It’s certainly not regular, but I’d estimate it’s about once a season. It’s all verbal, there is no physical intimidation. Verbal abuse is horrific anyway, but it’s not the next level which is physical violence.”

The team was formed to combat antisemitism after the Second World War, but has grown into an inclusive club for players from a diverse range of backgrounds.

Last week football anti-discrimination group Kick It Out reported that antisemitic incidents are already higher in the first half of this season than throughout the entire 2013-14 campaign.

The group said that there were 59 reported cases of antisemitism from August to December 28 last year, two higher than during the whole of the previous season.

Kick It Out director Roisin Wood said the figures show how significant the problem of discrimination still is in the sport.

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