A Belgian tennis club suspended a player who told his Jewish opponent: “All of you should have been gassed.”

Belgian publication Joods Actueel reported Alain Verlaak made the remark to a Maccabi player during the Tennis 7th Olympics club in Antwerp.

The Jewish player, who asked to be identified only as Serge S. due to security concerns, told the publication the incident took place after a dispute over the validity of a point which was lost by
Verlaak, who was leading in the match. Ludo Depooter, the tournament organiser, confirmed the details of the incident to Joods Actueel.

The match was then suspended by the club management, with Verlaak removed from the tournament. Serge S. told JTA that he believed the club acted correctly, but added Verlaak should be banned from playing in association matches, adding that he filed a criminal complaint against Verlaak with police.

Joods Actueel editor-in-chief Michael Freilich said the incident demonstrated the need to impose a fine system for hate speech, including against Jews. He said: “Taking someone to court is a long and expensive procedure and not always worth it. But if someone would receive a fine, just as when speeding, and needs to pay €150 penalty, that will register better with them and with the rest of the populace.”