Young soccer fans accost Jewish-Italian sportscaster in London

Racism and anti-Semitism by militant soccer fans has been an issue in Italy for years.

February 28, 2016 15:29
1 minute read.
London police

A police officer patrols outside Leytonstone Underground station in east London. (photo credit: REUTERS)

A group of youths accosted an Italian Jewish sportscaster after their team lost a key match in London.

In a blog post, David Gaeta, known as the radio “voice” of the Florence soccer team Fiorentina, reported that about 20 youths had accosted him Thursday night as he waited for an underground train after Fiorentina lost to the English team Tottenham Hotspur.

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The loss ousted Fiorentina from the European League championships.

“They recognized me and started to chant ‘David Guetta, a train for Mauthausen awaits you,’” he wrote. The chant rhymes in Italian.

The shameful thing is, he wrote, that the youths who accosted him “almost certainly do not really know what happened at Mauthausen. Or at Auschwitz, Dachau, Treblinka.” He added that he would have liked to have had the encounter in Florence, “in front of the memorial plaque that recalls the Florentines who left with these trains that today they want for me, and who never returned.”

Racism and anti-Semitism by militant soccer fans has been an issue in Italy for years.

Thursday’s incident was not the first time that Guetta, who has provided the radio play by play for Fiorentina for more than 30 years, had been subjected to anti-Semitic slurs. In an interview for an Italian Jewish newspaper in 2010 he reported that he had been called “s—tty Jew” on a number of occasions, had had swastikas scrawled on his motorcycle and had received threatening letters.

“My response to these totally imbecile manifestations was to re-join the Florence Jewish community, after 14 years,” he said, even though, he said, he was not observant.

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