Paris, 21 June 2018
In a letter to the President of the European Coalition of Cities Against Racism (ECCAR), Benedetto Zacchiroli, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, expressed outrage at England fans’ Nazi salutes and antisemitic chants at the Football World Cup in Russia.
Samuels expressed appreciation for having participated in the ECCAR conference on “Racism in Football” last April in Liège, Belgium, adding, “As you are aware, we are monitoring the current World Cup and draw your attention to the link (below) to a video of England fans celebrating their team’s victory over Tunisia on Monday, 18 June, at the Galeriya Bar in Volgograd – formerly Stalingrad, the site of Hitler’s bloodiest attack in World War II.”
The letter explained that “the English fans have adulterated the chant of London Tottenham Hotspur – a football club favoured by many British Jewish supporters – changing ‘we are on our way to Wembley’ to ‘we are on our way to Auschwitz’.”
Samuels noted that “the UK Football Association rapidly condemned those in the clip, stating ‘the disgraceful conduct of the individuals in this video does not represent the values of the majority of English football fans supporting their team in Russia,’ adding, ‘We are working with the relevant authorities, including the UK Police investigation team, who are making inquiries to identify the individuals involved and take appropriate action’.”
The Centre called on ECCAR “to publicly denounce this incident and to share the video with its over 150 member-cities, as a case-study.”
“We also urge ECCAR to adopt the Wiesenthal Centre’s ‘11 Point Programme on Racism in Football’ at its next General Assembly – a programme already endorsed by the Organization of American States (OAS, a body of 35 countries) and the Latin-American Parliament (PARLATINO, composed of 23 national Congresses),” concluded Samuels.