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UNACCEPTABLE: Parents object to their children playing football against Jewish boys

 Published on: 31st October 2023   |   By: Darius Morgan   |   Category: Uncategorized

A Watford youth football league was shamed by a display of abhorrent anti-Semitism this weekend.

Two Under 14s teams, Maccabi Lions, located just outside of Borehamwood, and Panthera FC, based in North Finchley, met on October 29 for a Watford Friendly League match. What unfolded would send shockwaves throughout the local community.

Before kick-off, Panthera FC allegedly announced that they would not be able to field 11 players for the match as parents were uncomfortable with their children playing against an opposition which consisted of players of the Jewish faith.

Yesterday (October 30), a spokesperson for Maccabi Lions said: “The manager of the opposing team from Panthera FC informed our manager that four parents of their players objected to their children playing football against Jewish boys. This information has subsequently been revised by Panthera to one parent.

“As you would expect, we take matters such as this extremely seriously.”

The club shared they are in the process of finalising their report, and will be sharing it with a number of organisations, including Kick it Out, Community Security Trust, The Office of HM Government’s Independent Adviser on Antisemitism, and the Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport.

The spokesperson continued: “We want to emphasise that there is no place for anti-Semitism, racism, or any form of discrimination within our football club. We are committed to upholding our core values of inclusivity, respect, and diversity. We maintain a strict zero-tolerance policy towards any actions associated with these harmful behaviours. That said, please be assured you that we will not accept or tolerate when others do not act in keeping with these values.

“Our commitment to security remains unwavering, and we continue to closely monitor and enhance our security measures as the situation unfolds.

“As we move forward, we will keep you informed of our progress in addressing this issue and ensuring that [the club] remains a safe and welcoming place for all.

“We appreciate your support and understanding during this challenging time.”

Panthera FC, which describes itself as an “inclusive youth football” team, made a statement on October 30.

It read: “Panthera FC want to make it unequivocally clear that as a club, we do not tolerate any form of racism, discrimination, or abuse of any kind.We stand firmly against all manifestations of racism and are dedicated to promoting a culture of inclusivity and unity.

“We believe that football is for everyone. It should be enjoyed by anyone who wants to participate in it, whether as a player, official, staff member, volunteer or spectator. We aim to bring people together in a way that supports positive change, makes people feel valued and improves the lives of people both on and off the pitch.

“Our commitment to inclusivity is woven into the fabric of who we are as a club, and this is reflected in the diversity of our coaches, members and their families. We join hands with those who are working tirelessly to eliminate racism from the beautiful game and from society as a whole and are committed to creating an environment where the richness of diversity is celebrated, and where prejudice has no place.

“Any form of racism, intimidation, discrimination or abuse has no place at Panthera Football Club and will be investigated fully and may result in removal from our club. Please remember we are dealing with children, and we are all responsible for the safeguarding and wellbeing of children and we take this role very seriously.

“We will not tolerate, as with any racism or discrimination, any incidents of intimidation by or against any member of the club and especially against children and any reports of this will also be investigated and reported to the Middlesex FA and may result in removal from the club.

“Any incidents will be taken seriously in line with our policies, and we will report and work closely with Middlesex FA to investigate any reports. If you have witnessed any incidents, please e-mail  with as much detail as possible including times and dates.”

Photo credit: Stock image

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