WITH EACH passing week, there seems to be another instance of dissent in Jewish football on a Sunday morning. The latest incident occurred at the end of the Division Three game between Hendon C and King Crown, where referee Stuart Ansher was verbally abused, reportedly squared up to and further threatened by being told he’d ‘be seen to after the game’ by a King Crown player. Martin Fox, the League’s Referee Secretary has called the incident “totally, totally unacceptable”, rightly said his referees don’t have to tolerate such abuse, and not unsurprisingly Ansher reported the incident to the London Football Association. To Crown’s credit, manager Jacob Kadoch confirmed the player will receive a lengthy ban, would be dealt with internally and apologise to the referee for any misunderstanding. The right result in the end, but it never should have come to this in the first place. Ironically, further such instances will lead to fewer verbal outbursts, though only because there will be fewer referees left to be abused at.
HOW REFRESHING was it to see an international sporting body mete out appropriate punishment for such a blatant act of anti-Semitism? After the Tunisian Tennis Federation ordered one of their players to withdraw from a match against Israeli Amir Weintraub, the International Tennis Federation reacted by banning Tunisia from next year’s event. Saying that the Tunisians were “in breach of the ITP Constitution by interfering with international sporting practice”, their President added: “There is no room for prejudice of any kind in sport or in society…this kind of action will not be tolerated by any of our members.” Hopefully this kind of a punishment will be a warning to other countries and athletes who have carried out similar actions of late. Having said that, female tennis players from both countries are due to meet in a Federation Cup tie in Budapest in February, it will be interesting to see if they fulfil that match.