UEFA sanctions Union Berlin for antisemitic abuse

BERLIN , -- UEFA sanctioned German soccer team Union Berlin Friday, with a partial stadium closing due to antisemitic behaviour of some of its supporters towards Israeli supporters Maccabi Haifa.

UEFA sanctions Union Berlin for antisemitic abuse

BERLIN , -- UEFA sanctioned German soccer team Union Berlin Friday, with a partial stadium closing due to antisemitic behaviour of some of its supporters towards Israeli supporters Maccabi Haifa.

UEFA stated that it had ended its disciplinary proceedings against Union for "racist behavior of its supporters" in the Europa Conference League match against Haifa in Berlin's Olympiastadion, Sept. 30.

It was the first time an Israeli soccer team had played in the Nazi-built stadium for the 1936 Olympics.

Union was ordered by UEFA to close the sectors 13 and 14, "where the home fans are seated", for the next match in the competition against Feyenoord, on Thursday. It will also display a banner that reads "#NoToRacism," and the UEFA logo within those sections.

Union had identified one person it claimed took part in the antisemitic abuse against Haifa fans, and banned him permanently from the club's premises and grounds. According to the club, it had also reached out to the German soccer federation in order for the man to be banned from the national stadium.

Dirk Zingler, club president, said that Union Berlin has no tolerance for discrimination. He called it "shameful" and "intolerable".

Fare Network, which fights discrimination in soccer said that "eyewitnesses were shocked at the levels of antisemitism."

Fare posted photos on Twitter of a Union supporter, who it claimed gave Nazi salutes to visiting fans and abused those who called them out. Another man can also be seen in one of these pictures giving a Nazi salute which is illegal in Germany. It could land you in prison.

According to local German-Israeli society youth branch, Union fans had thrown beer on them, calling them "expletive" Jews and other insults.

According to the Department for Research and Information on Antisemitism Berlin (RIAS), visiting fans were also subject to homophobic and racist slurs.

RIAS and members of the German-Israeli society noted that Union supporters tried to stop the perpetrators. Society members expressed their gratitude for the support from the majority.

Union's rival city, Hertha Berlin, uses the stadium. However, Union has taken it over for European competition as its stadium in Kopenick's eastern borough doesn't have enough capacity to accommodate UEFA's demands.

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