Long empty hospital corridor (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
Israeli soccer officials hinted that anti-Semitism may have been the reason that the entire Maccabi Petah Tikva youth soccer team fell victim to food poisoning so severe that each of the players ended up in a hospital in Bulgaria over the weekend.
According to Sport 5 television, members of the team who were staying at their hotel in Sofia began complaining of stomach aches and diarrhea, while some began vomiting and even fainting.
A number of players were released from hospital, while others are still in need of treatment.
Maccabi Petah Tikva's youth club is in Bulgaria to take part in training camp. Their players are staying at a hotel in Sofia. After the illnesses, the team's coaches bought food for the team from eateries outside of the hotel just to make sure that they don't fall victim to additional cases of food poisoning.
"We have the sense that somebody [at the hotel] was bothered by the fact that the players sang in Hebrew on Friday," Avi Luzon, a Maccabi Petah Tikva official, told Sport 5.
"We asked the Bulgarian soccer federation to investigate this matter urgently," Luzon said. "One after the other, the players fell victim and were rushed to the emergency room. From what I gathered, this was really scary. I hope that tomorrow morning they will be able to get on a plane back to Israel so that they can be tested further."
"We cannot just sit idly by and accept this," he said. "I will ask for a thorough investigation because this facility belonged to the Bulgarian federation."