Saturday, 30 July 2011

Malaysia get complain letter from Chelsea over Benayoun abuse

The Football Association of Malaysia (FAM) has received a letter from English Premier League side Chelsea complaining about the anti-Semitic abuse of Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun during their friendly last week.

FAM secretary-general Datuk Azzuddin Ahmad confirmed receiving the letter.

“Yes, they faxed us a letter (on Wednesday) and we will look into their complaint,” Azzuddin said yesterday.

“We have to first establish who the fans were jeering at. It is not easy to address this issue when the match was played in front of a sell-out crowd.”

During last Thursday’s match against the Malaysian XI, Benayoun was jeered and booed as he became the first Israeli in recent memory to play in the country.

Chelsea won the match, played at the National Stadium in Bukit Jalil, 1-0.

“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.

“Such behaviour is offensive, totally unacceptable and has no place in football.”

The Premier League club, currently on a tour in Hong Kong, did not complain to the FAM 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.

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