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Chelsea Pursue Malaysian FA For Anti-Semitic Abuse Of Yossi Benayouni

During Chelsea's match against a Malaysia XI last week, a number of people raised their suspicions that Israeli midfielder Yossi Benayoun was being targetted by less-than-friendly chants by some members of the crowd. Benayoun, of course, is Israeli, a nationality not really welcomed with open arms in an Islamic (but multicultural) country like Malaysia, and so you can understand that there might be some suspicion that the abuse he was receiving was more than just the typical jeers directed against an opposition player.

Chelsea didn't take action immediately after the match, and Benayoun didn't complain, but after some time and deliberation have now determined that the taunts were anti-semitic in nature and have therefore made a complaint to the Malaysian FA:

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.

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

Our stay in Malaysia was, on the whole, a very positive experience for all the team travelling on the pre-season tour. It is a shame, therefore, that the behaviour of a minority of supporters is also a memory we take away.


Determining the intent of an action is extremely difficult - just look at the Neymar banana incident against Scotland earlier this year for an example of what happens when you misinterpret a fairly innocuous gesture. Chelsea, therefore, did the responsible thing. They noted the issue, and instead of immediately pursuing a complaint they ensured that they thoroughly understood the situation before acting.

It is of course hugely unfortunate that Benayoun and the team were put in the situation they faced, but Chelsea's reaction to the whole affair has been a credit to the club. I have my doubts as to whether anyone will get in trouble over the abuse, but it's heartening to see the club take a stand, and doing so in a mature fashion.