NEWFUTSALPICKICK IT Out, the organisation set up to kick racism out of football has its 20th anniversary celebration dinner next week. And while not eradicating the problem from the beautiful game in those two decades, it’s certainly made inroads in trying to solve the problem. But as if it – and the FA – don’t have enough to deal with, it seems the problem has now seeped into other sports, with Maccabi GB’s futsal team finding themselves on the receiving end of anti-Semitic abuse during their game against Kaunas FC. The team have proudly been flying the community’s flag in this season’s FA Futsal League, though were met on Sunday afternoon by a barrage of racial abuse – both the players and those supporting them. Reportedly called “dirty Jews” amongst other things, MGB sent reports to both the CST and FA, with the latter, via their Amateur Football Alliance branch who deal with dissent in futsal, saying they are poised to investigate. Claiming they have “a robust system in place” for such incidents, they have to first gather all the evidence, then assess the situation with the FA before meting out any charges. In the meantime – and bear in mind it took the FA two months to punish Nicolas Anelka for his quenelle salute – should the MGB team defeat Oxford at the weekend, they will then qualify for the next round of the tournament where they could be drawn to face none other than Kaunas FC.
THE GOOD news is Israel won’t have to worry about qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The bad news is that’s because the chairman of the Arab Football Federation wants them expelled from international football. Prince Nawaf bin Faisal claims FIFA, football’s world governing body, has agreed to discuss Israel’s ‘transgressions’ against Palestinian sports, saying: “Israel will be either expelled or suspended from FIFA if it did not apologise for its action against Palestinians and provide guarantees.” Claiming Israel had obstructed the movement of Palestinian teams, forcing them to cancel their trips abroad, he said FIFA agreed to discuss the issue in its next meeting, insinuating this would serve as a prelude to expelling Israel from all international games. The Israelis have refused to comment.