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Berlin soccer club bans fan for antisemitic abuse of Maccabi Haifa supporters

Supporters of Haifa attend a group E Europa Conference League soccer match between 1. FC Union Berlin and Maccabi Haifa FC in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Supporters of Haifa attend a group E Europa Conference League soccer match between 1. FC Union Berlin and Maccabi Haifa FC in Berlin, Germany, Sept. 30, 2021. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

BERLIN — Union Berlin has identified a person it says was one of the perpetrators of antisemitic abuse against Maccabi Haifa fans and banned him from the club’s grounds and premises indefinitely.

Union says today that it has also contacted the German soccer federation to register a nationwide stadium ban against the individual, who allegedly took part in the abuse of the Israeli team’s fans during their Europa Conference League game at Berlin’s Olympiastadion on September 30.

The Bundesliga club doesn’t name the fan.

“We would like to thank the Union supporters who showed solidarity with the victims on the evening of the game, and our fan clubs for their clear position. It’s good that we have already been able to identify a perpetrator,” club president Dirk Zingler says in a statement.

“There is no tolerance whatsoever for discrimination at Union Berlin. We have therefore taken all the measures available to us to remove this person from our ranks,” says Zingler, who adds the club has also forwarded “all the information we have” to investigating police.

UEFA opened a disciplinary case against the club yesterday, without giving a timetable for any decisions.

Union had already responded the day after the match by condemning the “shameful and intolerable” abuse. Zingler apologized for the fans’ actions.

It was the first soccer game involving an Israeli team played at the stadium built for the 1936 Olympics hosted by Nazi Germany.

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