Spanish newspaper’s claim that British soccer club hated due to ‘Jewish origin’ condemned


(JTA) — British soccer clubs have condemned an article in a Spanish daily newspaper that reported the “Jewish origin” of the Tottenham Hotspurs has caused the team to be hated by rival clubs’ fans.

The Madrid-based daily sports newspaper Marca published the article on Monday ahead of a match between the Spurs and Real Madrid as part of the Champions League play.

“Their Jewish origin has made them into a club hated by rival fans. But in their 135 years of existence they have always had style and great players,” the article said, in part.

In a clarification issued after publication, senior reporter Enrique Ortega wrote: “That ‘hatred’ that Tottenham suffers is very focused on the radical and racist groups that are hiding in the social mass, especially Chelsea and West Ham.”

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“I regret the confusion that has been created in this respect. The intention was not to damage the image of Tottenham, a club we respect, value… and we do not want to serve as a speaker to these racist minorities who use any pretext to expand their hate messages, which we reject head-on,” he also wrote.

The Tottenham team said in a statement: “We are astonished that a publication such as Marca, which presents itself as an alleged source of professional journalism, has seen fit to publish such an article which is blatantly wrong and wholly distasteful.”

Spurs rivals Chelsea and West Ham also released statements blasting the article’s assertion. Chelsea said that the article made “wide-ranging, inaccurate and appalling accusations.”  West Ham called the article “unfounded, offensive and wildly inaccurate.”

The team was popular among Jewish immigrants in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Fans often call themselves the “Yid Army,” though the league has since banned the term as offensive.

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