BUENOS AIRES, Argentina (JTA) – An Argentine soccer club was docked a point in the standings because of anti-Semitic chants made by its fans.
The Argentine Football Association Disciplinary Court meted out the unprecedented penalty against Chacarita Juniors for the chants made by the club’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 sang repeatedly during a Premier B League match 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.
The disciplinary court ruled two weeks ago that Chacarita Juniors would lose the points it had obtained in the match.
The new standings revealed Sunday shows Chacarita with two wins and 13 draws, which totals 19 points. But with the point taken away, the club is down to 18 points.
“This is a positive step in showing a red flag to hatred and a precedent for other countries,” said Dr. Shimon Samuels, the Wiesenthal Center’s director for international relations.
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 spurred the AFA to establish rules requiring the referee to end or suspend a match due to racist expressions.
Founded in 1904, Atlanta is associated with the Jewish community because of the historical support of Jewish fans. In 1963 it became the first Argentinian team to visit Israel, where it defeated the Israeli 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.