Jewish Congress offers FA, UEFA help to fight anti-Semitism

Tue Dec 31, 2013 10:41am EST
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By Mike Collett

LONDON (Reuters) - The European Jewish Congress (EJC) offered on Tuesday to help European soccer's governing body UEFA and the English FA to fight anti-Semitism in the sport following Nicolas Anelka's "quenelle" salute.

It has also called on the soccer authorities to ban Anelka, 34, who is being investigated by the English FA, for the gesture.

The former France striker celebrated the first of the two goals he scored in West Bromwich Albion's 3-3 draw at West Ham United on Saturday by making the gesture, made famous by the French comedian Dieudonne, which is linked to anti-Semitism.

The 34-year-old Anelka promised his club on Monday he would not repeat it in future.

But EJC president Doctor Moshe Kantor has written to both Michel Platini, the UEFA president, and Greg Dyke, the chairman of the English FA, saying what Anelka did means there can be no let-up in the fight to keep anti-Semitism out of soccer.

"We offer the co-operation of the European Jewish Congress and are ready to discuss practical ideas and suggestions for combating anti-Semitism and racism in football," said Kantor, who called for Anelka to be banned.

"There is an urgent need for action to confront this phenomenon as it relates to football and we stand ready to assist you in combating this intolerable hate.

"At the European Jewish Congress, we regularly receive reports of attacks on Jews, whether verbal or physical, which also include acts of anti-Semitism at matches involving English and European football clubs," he added.   Continued...