The Simon Wiesenthal Center expressed satisfaction at Argentine Football Association (AFA) Disciplinary Court penalty to Chacarita Juniors Soccer Club following anti-Semitic slurs chanted at a match against Atlanta Soccer Club on March 11.
At the time of the incident, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, sent a letter to the presidents of AFA’s Executive Committee and its Disciplinary Court saying, “There are no excuses for such abhorrent behavior and the use of Holocaust imagery of the death camps, where the Nazis proposed to melt Jewish fat for the production of soap. We met with AFA’s President Grondona, who promised us zero tolerance for racism on the football terraces. We now expect him to show an exemplary 'Red Flag' to Chacarita Juniors,”
In an unprecedented decision based upon the Wiesenthal Center’s protest, the Disciplinary Court ruled that Chacarita Juniors would lose the points it had obtained in the match.
“This is a positive step in showing a red flag to hatred, and a precedent for other countries,” Samuels stated.
“We expect that this decision will prevent such racist abuses in the future and are ready to cooperate with AFA in tolerance-building programs for soccer,” added Sergio Widder, the Wiesenthal Center’s Director for Latin America.
The Center’s officials noted that they had received “dozens of e-mails from supporters of Chacarita, apologizing and disassociating themselves from the anti-Semitism, and stressing that they too are targeted with racist slogans. We encourage them to denounce such attacks to foster fair play not only on the soccer pitch itself, but among the soccer fans also,” concluded Samuels and Widder.