In First, Israel's National Soccer Association Fines a Tel Aviv Club for Homophobic Chants

Setting a precedent, the Israeli association's court ruled that homophobic slurs made by fans toward a player are a violation of the bylaws

Itay Lary
Macabbi Tel Aviv supporters in Barcelona in 2011.
Macabbi Tel Aviv supporters in Barcelona in 2011. Credit: REUTERS
Itay Lary

The supreme court of the national soccer association in Israel ruled on Thursday that homophobic slurs made by fans toward a player constitute a violation of the bylaws, essentially setting a president.

The panel of five discussed the case in which Maccabi Tel Aviv called Maccabi Netanya goalkeeper a homosexual during a match between the teams.

Maccabi Netanya goalkeeper Daniel Amos, earlier this year.

The Tel Aviv fans’ calls referred to Daniel Amos’s support for the LGBTQ community to which his brother Micha belongs. In 2019, he took the field for a match against Maccabi Tel Aviv with shoes emblazoned with the pride flag, following homophobic calls he had heard in stadiums.

Due to the lack of a rule banning such calls in the bylaws, Maccabi Tel Aviv was exonerated at court following the incident, and on the prosecution’s appeal. But now, upon another hearing, a panel voted three tribunes to two that the club will be punished.

“The appeal verdict has taken into account the fact that in the past no charges were filed for such calls,” wrote Professor Miguel Deutsch, who sat on the panel. He added that the “Lack of charges in the past does not inoculate from prosecution in the right case.”

The meaning of the verdict is that from now on, unless the bylaws are amended, calls meant to degrade a person due to sexuality or gender will be considered inappropriate behavior and will incur fines for the clubs. Both majority and minority tribunes on the panel called upon the Israeli national soccer association to make changes to the bylaws and anchor the new rule in them to prevent another case of unclarity on the subject.

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