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Argentine soccer club loses points due to anti-Semitic fans

JTA

May 2, 2012 | 10:18 am

An Argentine soccer club lost points after a penalty was leveled due to anti-Semitic chants made by its fans.

The Argentine Football Association Disciplinary Court meted out the penalty to the Chacarita Juniors soccer club after anti-Semitic chants were made by Chacarita´s fans during a March game against Atlanta, a Jewish-backed soccer club.

“Chaca is coming along the road, killing the Jews to make soap” Chacarita´s fans repeatedly sang during an official match at the Premier B League, on March 11.

The match ended in a 1-1 draw. The day after the incident the Simon Wiesenthal Center sent a letter of complaint to Argentine Football Association President Julio Grondona and the head of its Disciplinary Court, Fernando Mitjans.

In February, 2000 Chacarita fans greeted the Atlanta team with Nazi flags, and threw soap on the field while singing “with the Jews we make soap.” The poor behavior then led to the national football association establishing rules requiring the referee to end or suspend a match due to racist expressions.

In an unprecedented decision, the Disciplinary Court ruled two weeks ago that Chacarita Juniors would lose the points it had obtained in the match.

At the new table of positions revealed on Sunday Chacarita has 2 wins and 13 draws, totaling 19 points. But the club lost one point and is down to 18 points due to the unparalleled punishment.

“This is a positive step in showing a red flag to hatred, and a precedent for other countries,” stated Dr. Shimon Samuels, Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for International Relations.

Founded in 1904, Atlanta is associated with the Jewish community due to the historical support of Jewish fans. In 1963 it became the first Argentine team to visit Israel, where it played and won against the Israel national team. It was the first Argentinean soccer club performance in the Jewish state and also Atlanta’s first meeting against a foreign national team.

The Atlanta playing field once hosted the annual celebrations for Yom Ha’atzmaut, Israel Independence Day, in Argentina until the terrorist attack against the AMIA Jewish center in Buenos Aires in July 1994. The open space then was banned to the crowded celebrations for security reasons.

“We expect that this decision will prevent such racist abuses in the future and are ready to cooperate with the AFA in tolerance-building programs for soccer,” added Sergio Widder, Simon Wiesenthal Center Director for Latin America.

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