FIFA Fines Italian National Soccer Team for Fans' anti-Semitic Behavior

Italian fans gave a fascist salute during a match against Israel in Haifa in September.

Israel's players react at the end of the World Cup 2018 qualifier football match Israel vs Italy at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa, on September 5, 2016.
Jack Guez, AFP

The international soccer governing body FIFA slapped a more than $30,000 fine on Italy’s national soccer team for the anti-Semitic behavior of some of its fans at a match in Haifa in September.

FIFA fined the Italian team 30,000 Swiss Francs, or about $31,000, for the “improper and discriminatory” behavior of team Italy fans who gave the fascist salute during the playing of the national anthems ahead of the Italy-Israel match held in Haifa on Sept. 5.

“A fine is never good news, but I am very proud to have raised the case on our portal,” said a spokesman for the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, or UCEI, which had first brought attention to the incident on its news website, www.moked.it.

A FIFA committee later this month is set to issue recommendations on whether to allow Israeli teams to play in West Bank venues, following a complaint filed by the  Palestinian Football Association, accusing its Israeli counterpart of violating FIFA rules by holding games without permission on the territory of another member group.