The ugly face of Polish football. Israeli team staff attacked in anti-semitic incident

August 4 – Masked hooligans attacked staff members travelling with an Israeli team following a friendly match in Poland on Wednesday in what the Israeli Embassy in Warsaw described as an “anti-Semitic incident.”

Two men were slightly injured in the attack, which occurred in Suchocin, around 35 miles from Warsaw, following a fixture between Hapoel Petah Tikva and a local Polish club, MKS Ciechanow.

The Israeli club said the assault occurred after the game when most of the players had returned to their hotel. It said a number of fans of Legia Warsaw, one of Poland’s biggest clubs, “emerged from the adjacent forest with their faces covered (and) came on the field and began assaulting a number of staff that had stayed behind.”

The Israeli Embassy said it was “shocked and sadden by the news of another anti-Semitic incident.”

“These ‘pseudo-fans’ not only harm good Polish-Israeli relations, but first of all they are damaging to Poland’s image abroad,” said a spokesman.

Israeli media identified those assaulted as staff members Moshe Harel and Oz Batzon and quoted Petah Tikva coach Oren Krispin as saying: “After the match we went to the lobby of the hotel while a couple of our staff members were collecting the equipment. Around 15-20 skinheads came out of the woods and raced onto the field and began punching and kicking them.”

“It was really scary, the kind of thing that you see in movies,” one of the Israelis told Ynetnews. “It ended with a black eye and a little blood, but it could have been much worse. An Israeli group traveling abroad are always a target.”

MKS Ciechanow condemned the incident and stressed that its fans have nothing to do with it.

“First and foremost, we emphasize that our Club regrets the whole situation and strongly condemns the behavior of the perpetrators of this perilous incident, but at the same time we stress that none of the members of our club-related community had anything to do with the whole situation,” read a statement issued by the club.

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