Only two weeks ago FIFA, the world soccer body, issued a list of new disciplinary measures as part of its efforts to fight racism in soccer stadiums. It seems FIFA did not expect that so soon it would needed to implement the new penalties.
Rodrigo Goldberg, the non-Jewish Chilean striker who starred with Maccabi Tel Aviv from 1997 to 2003, won two cups, and later moved back to Chile to play for Snatiago Morning, is demanding the new penalties be used after being subjected to anti-Semitic abuse during a recent match.
Last Saturday, Goldberg made headlines in Chile after fans of Palestino, a Chilean team set up by Palestinian refugees in the South American country, mistook him for a Jew and hurled racist comments against him .
"I've heard many curses against me; people think I am a Jew because of my name, but what happened last Saturday broke all records," Goldberg told Ynet.
What did they shout?
A combination of every swear word you can think of and the word Jew. They called me "Jewish garbage," "son of a bitch Jew," many curses. As I said, it happened in the past but this time it crossed the limits.
So you decided to seek the implementation of the new FIFA regulations?
Yes, I went to the disciplinary committee of the Chilean Soccer Union to ask these fans be banned from stadiums for two years. I asked the team not be punished because they are not guilty and their president apologized to me after the game. I want them to punish the four or five fans who swore. FIFA penalties are clear: A ban from attending games for two years for fans who use abusive language and maybe abstracting points for the team.
Were you seriously offended by the insults?
I am not ready to suffer these things at a soccer stadium. People in Chile don't like the fact that I support Israel whenever the opportunity arises, but I don't care. I already said they called me a Jew on many occasions, although I am not, but it is not insulting. To the contrary, for me it's a compliment. I respect Jews and love them dearly.
Saar Hass contributed to this report