AMSTERDAM (JTA) — A Dutch soccer coach is accused of calling an 11-year-old Jewish player “cancer Jew” during practice and harassing him over his religion.
The Dutch soccer association has suspended the team.
The boy, identified in an article Friday in Het Parool only as Tobias, caught the attention of the coach, who wasn’t named, last year because he wore a pendant with a Star of David, the boy told the daily. The team is the little league of the GeuzenMiddenmeer club from eastern Amsterdam.
“He asked me whether I’m an Ajax fan or a Jew,” the boy said, referencing the Amsterdam team that has many fans who use Jewish symbols as mascots. When Tobias told him he is Jewish, the coach asked: “And you’re not ashamed of it?” according to the boy.
During practice, the coach would yell to other players about Tobias: “Don’t let that Jew boy in” and “don’t let Jew boy score,” the boy said. During one match, when the players left the pitch due to rain, the coach said: “It seems like Hanukkah’s arrived,” according to the boy.
Victor Koopman, a member of the team’s littler league executive board, told Het Parool that there were “no witnesses” to the exchanges and this “complicates the issue.” The coach has denied making anti-Semitic remarks.
But Het Parool spoke to two of Tobias’ teammates, who confirmed his account.
“The coach once said, ‘This cancer Jew can be on your team,’” one teammate named Bo told the paper.