English soccer team absolved after inquiry into anti-Semitic fans

West Ham fans in action, 2008. (Keven Law)

West Ham fans in action, 2008. (Keven Law)

(JTA) — The English Football Association will not censure the West Ham soccer team following an investigation into alleged anti-Semitic violence.

The association according to a report on Monday praised West Ham for dealing immediately with incidents that took place last November at an away game against the Tottenham Hotspurs.

Among the punishments handed out by the West Ham club was a lifetime ban on a season ticket holder who was arrested in the incident.

West Ham fans were heard hissing like the sound of Nazi gas chambers chanting the name Adolf Hitler, and they also mocked the stabbing of a Hotspurs fan at a pub in Rome.

Tottenham Hotspurs is known as the “Jewish” team of London because of their large Jewish following and its fans are often referred to as the “Yids.”

The Tottenham incident was the subject of a police investigation into the use of racist language, according to the London Evening Standard.

Meanwhile, Yossi Benayoun, an Israeli midfielder for the Chelsea Football Club whose contract just expired, told the London Jewish Chronicle that the anti-Semitic abuse heaped on him by the team’s fans was the worst he has ever experienced.

In April, Chelsea said it would investigate after Benayoun said he was the victim of anti-Semitic taunts and booing from his own supporters when he came on as a substitute against Liverpool. He took to Twitter after the match to inform a wide audience of the abuse.

Benayoun, who has been playing professional soccer for 20 years, including three years at West Ham, told the newspaper that he wanted to continue playing for an English team.

NEXT STORY