Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)iStock

Italy’s premier soccer league has announced that it has adopted the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism.

Serie A, the top soccer league in Italy, made the decision at a conference entitled “The Fight against Anti-Semitism in Football: European Agreements” that was held at its headquarters at the behest of Milena Santerini, Italy’s special representative on anti-Semitism, the Moked news site reported.

At the meeting, the Union of Italian Jewish Communities (UCEI), Italy’s National Anti-Discrimination Office (UNAR) and Santerini recommended that Serie A teams include the IHRA definition in their regulations while also implementing the measures that are part of Italy’s national strategy on combating anti-Semitism.

While noting the legal difficulties that sometimes make it hard to stop incidents taking place inside stadiums, the league nonetheless gave its support to the proposal, adopting the IHRA definition of anti-Semitism and referring the plans to an upcoming meeting with the corporate social responsibility representatives of its 20 teams.

"We are pleased that Serie A, Italy’s top football league, has adopted the IHRA working definition of anti-Semitism,” said the European Jewish Congress in a statement. “Sports are a crucial arena for tackling hate and more national football leagues should follow suit.”

The league also said that it would organize anti-Semitism training courses and involve input from its teams, including the importance of adding anti-Semitism as a regulation in its teams’ ethics codes. It also said it would create a “dedicated memorandum of understanding” to combat discrimination, hate speech and violence.

Also present at the conference were the UK’s independent advisor on anti-Semitism Lord John Mann, UCEI General Secretary Uriel Perugia and Talia Bidussa of the Shoah Memorial in Milan.

The adoption of the IHRA definition comes after a series of recent anti-Semitic incidents in European soccer, including a video taken in October at the stadium of Rome’s Lazio soccer team showing fans making fascist salutes.