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“FIFA must not be associated with abuse of the 'Beautiful Game' in the service of hate.”

Paris, 17 March 2021

In a letter to FIFA (Federation of International Football Associations) President, Gianni Infantino, the Simon Wiesenthal Centre Director for International Relations, Dr. Shimon Samuels, recalled their 2017 correspondence, expressing “outrage at the Palestinian Football Association (PFA) glorification of terrorism in naming tournaments, teams and stadia after murderers.”

Infantino had responded, invoking FIFA Statute art. 4: “ take a clear stance against discrimination of any kind.”

The letter noted that, “Our Centre’s Nazi hunter and Holocaust historian, Dr. Efraim Zuroff, wrote to the Mayor of Ternopil, Ukraine, to protest the 5 March renaming of its stadium in honour of Nazi collaborator Hauptmann, of the SS Schutzmannschaft 201, Roman Shukhevych, an active participant in the mass murder of Jews and Poles in World War II, many in the same city of Ternopil. Zuroff suggested that the stadium honour the ‘Ukrainian Righteous’ who, at their peril, protected Jewish fugitives sought by Shukhevych for extermination.”

The Centre stressed “its work in Europe with UEFA and ECCAR (European Coalition of Cities Against Racism) and the OAS (Organization of American States) in Latin America, to adopt our ‘11-Point Programme Against Antisemitism and Racism in Football’.”

Samuels urged the President “to agenda the Ternopil outrage at the 71st FIFA Congress on 21 May, via Zoom from Tokyo,” continuing, “We expect you to insist that the Ukrainian Association of Football (UAF) refuse that matches be held in the stadium until it is renamed in the spirit of FIFA’s statutes.”

“FIFA must not be associated with abuse of football in the service of hate. Naming the Ternopil stadium for a Nazi collaborator in mass murder sullies the ‘Beautiful Game’ worldwide,” concluded Samuels.

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“For evil to flourish, it only requires good men to do nothing.” (Simon Wiesenthal, 1908-2005)