Brazil Gets Lesson on Avoiding anti-Semitism in Soccer

Simon Wiesenthal Center present program to officials ahead of 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

JTA
JTA
JTA
JTA

Simon Wiesenthal Center officials presented a program to authorities in Brazil on dealing with racism in sports, notably soccer, as the nation readies for the 2014 World Cup and 2016 Summer Olympics.

“Eleven Points Against Racism in Football” was presented Tuesday in Rio de Janeiro by Shimon Samuels, the center’s director for international relations, and Sergio Widder, its Latin America director.

The initiative was inspired by a similar program, Football Against Racism in Europe, or FARE, to prevent terror incidents at upcoming major sporting events in Brazil, as well as religious events, such as the visit of Pope Francis.

Among the Brazilian officials on hand were Zaqueu Teixeira, the secretary of state for social affairs and human rights, and Bernard Brito, supervisor for analysis and project management, as well as the coordinator of the Racism in Football Conference.

This week, the FIFA Confederation Cup will be inaugurated in Brazil. In addition to being a major event by itself, the competition also is a test run for the 2014 World Cup, the 2016 Olympic Games and the Catholic World Youth Days in July.

“The Wiesenthal Center has long been active in combating racism in European football, especially at the EURO 2012 Championship in Poland and Ukraine and, last month, in containing cancellation and boycott attempts against Israel’s hosting the UEFA Under-21 Championship,” Samuels said. “We now hope that Latin American institutions will endorse our initiative for zero tolerance of racism in sports.”

Widder said the Argentine Football Association “set a new standard last year” by penalizing the Chacarita Juniors’ team for the anti-Semitic chants of its fans.

“We encourage Brazil to follow this model so that the Confederation Cup can be an example for best practices in sports,” he told JTA.

Greek soccer star, midfielder Giorgos Katidis, raising hand in Nazi-style salute after scoring the winning goal against Veria, March 16, 2013.Credit: Reuters

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