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Benayoun during match against Malaysian XI. Jeered and booed
Photo: AFP
Malaysia regrets Benayoun abuse
Muslim-majority country's football federation apologizes after Chelsea complains about anti-Semitic slurs directed at club's Israeli midfielder during preseason friendly

Malaysia's football federation apologized Friday after Chelsea complained about anti-Semitic abuse directed at the club's Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun during a preseason friendly.

 

In last Thursday's match against a Malaysian XI, Benayoun was jeered and booed as he became the first Israeli in recent memory to play in the Muslim-majority country, which is a staunch supporter of the Palestinians and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.

 

The Football Association of Malaysia did not admit the abuse occurred but said "if such an incident did happen, we would like to apologize to the player ... and also to Chelsea FC."

 

It said the abuse would have "involved a small section of spectators."

 

Chelsea said Wednesday that anti-Semitic abuse was "offensive, totally unacceptable and has no place in football.

 

"Notwithstanding most fans behaving appropriately on the night, we believe Yossi was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by a number of supporters at the game," Chelsea said Wednesday in a statement on its website.

 

The Premier League club, which is now in Hong Kong, did not complain to the Football Association of Malaysia at the time.

 

"It was initially unclear as to the nature of the abuse Yossi received, as several players from both teams experienced similar treatment, sometimes louder and longer," Chelsea said. "However, having taken time to consider the issue fully, it has become apparent that a formal complaint was necessary."

 

Chelsea is owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is also Jewish.

 

 


First published: 29.07.11, 07:16
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