Salim Tuameh, the captain of National League side Bnei Lod, decided to speak out after racist chants of “Tuameh is a terrorist” at the weekend game against Maccabi Tel Aviv.
“Racism is taking over our soccer. It’s time for the senior players to take action; this is incitement that can lead to very dark places… It’s time to uproot this phenomenon. Where’s the players’ union, which jumps on every bandwagon, like the recent derby events, and is now silent all of a sudden?” Tuameh asks.
Some seven years ago, Maccabi Tel Aviv faced a disciplinary hearing after one of its matches against city rival Hapoel because of similar chanting against Tuameh. The then-Maccabi owner Loni Herzikovich argued that “‘Tuameh is a terrorist’ is a heinous chant that has no place in Israeli society, but it’s not a racist chant.” Tuameh rejects that claim. “If that’s not racism, then what is? The song against me has become part of the Israeli soccer experience, a part of the fixed culture. I don’t understand the observers, the referees and all the officials, who until now have failed to mention it in their reports.”
It’s also time for the Israeli FA to take action. The Israel Football Association announced Monday (1st December) that Maccabi Tel Aviv will face a disciplinary committee hearing. However, its failure to act strongly enough in the past has meant that racism has not been stamped out. This is another reason for the Israeli FA to be suspended from FIFA.
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