Italy’s national soccer team fined about $31,000 for anti-Semitic fan behaviour

(JTA) – The international soccer governing body FIFA slapped a more than $30,000 US fine on Italy’s national soccer team for the anti-Semitic behaviour of some of its fans at a match in Haifa.

FIFA fined the Italian team 30,000 Swiss francs, or about $31,000 US, for the “improper and discriminatory” behavior of team Italy fans who gave the fascist salute during the playing of the national anthems ahead of the Italy-Israel match held in Haifa on Sept. 5.

“A fine is never good news, but I am very proud to have raised the case on our portal,” said a spokesman for the Union of Italian Jewish Communities, or UCEI, which had first brought attention to the incident on its news website, www.moked.it.

A FIFA committee later this month is set to issue recommendations on whether to allow Israeli teams to play in West Bank venues following a complaint filed by the  Palestinian Football Association accusing its Israeli counterpart of violating FIFA rules by holding games without permission on the territory of another member group.

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