Benayoun embarrassed by fans' chants
Published 26/11/2012 | 18:34
West Ham's Israeli international Yossi Benayoun has spoken of his disappointment and embarrassment at hearing anti-Semitic abuse by some of the club's fans towards Tottenham's supporters during their clash on Sunday at White Hart Lane.
The Football Association on Monday launched an investigation into reports of the abuse, while West Ham reacted by banning one of two fans cautioned by police at the match. Hammers fans appeared to mock both the gassing of Jews in the Holocaust and the knife attack on a Spurs fan before Tottenham's game in Rome last week.
Benayoun said on Twitter: "I have a great relationship with the West Ham United supporters, from my first spell at the club and again now I am back on loan here. This why I was very disappointed to hear some of the songs yesterday and it was embarrassing."
West Ham supporters sang "Viva Lazio", "Can we stab you every week?" and hissed on several occasions, apparently mocking the mass execution of Jews during the Second World War. There were also reportedly chants about Adolf Hitler during the match which Spurs won 3-1.
Police confirmed that two West Ham supporters were formally cautioned by officers after singing anti-Semitic chants during Sunday's match. The pair of fans were arrested during the game and accepted the police cautions, Scotland Yard said. One of those was a Hammers season ticket holder who has since been banned by the club.
The Community Security Trust (CST), a charity that monitors anti-Semitism, said it has received complaints from people in the Jewish community following the Spurs match yesterday, including from people who were at the game.
CST spokesman Mark Gardner said: "The days of English football crowds making massed monkey noises are thankfully gone, but massed anti-Semitic chanting about Hitler and gassing was clearly heard yesterday from a loud section of West Ham fans.
"We have heard such abuse against Spurs before and it risks seriously compromising the work against racism at all levels of the game.
" UEFA and the FA need to take urgent action regarding Lazio and West Ham respectively. Fans who indulge in racist or anti-Semitic behaviour should be arrested, charged and banned. We cannot have 'the football family' ignoring, and therefore encouraging, mass Nazi chanting."