Youth football club begins investigation after boy refuses to play against Jewish team

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Youth football club begins investigation after boy refuses to play against Jewish team

EXCLUSIVE: Under-14s team took the field with fewer players than Maccabi Lions on Sunday after objection from a parent about their child's opponents

Richard Ferrer has been editor of Jewish News since 2009. As one of Britain's leading Jewish voices he writes for The Times, Independent, New Statesman and many other titles. Richard previously worked at the Daily Mail, Daily Mirror, edited the Boston Jewish Advocate and created the Channel 4 TV series Jewish Mum Of The Year.

File image of boys playing football. None of the players in this picture are related to the incident described.
File image of boys playing football. None of the players in this picture are related to the incident described.

A children’s football club has launched an urgent investigation that could lead to a player expulsion after one of its members refused to take part in a match against a Jewish team.

North London based Panthera FC boys under-14s team took the field with only nine players on Sunday for a game against Maccabi Lions after a parent of one member objected to their child playing football with Jews.

The team was already under-strength, with only 10 players available on the day. When another withdrew, reportedly due to not wanting to play alongside Jewish children, the side was left with only nine players.

In a heartfelt message to club members sent on Monday morning and seen by Jewish News, Panthera FC said: “We take reports of these matters very seriously and any incidents will be investigated thoroughly and reported to the authorities where needed. We will not hesitate to take appropriate action, including removal from our club. Our priority is to create an environment where every child can thrive, where the richness of diversity is celebrated and where prejudice has no place.

“If you, as parents, harbour prejudice of any kind that could affect your child’s experience or our culture of inclusivity, then we must be honest – this may not be the right club for you.

Urging members to “stand together, united in our dedication to inclusivity”, the statement continues: “Please remember we are dealing with children and are all responsible for the safeguarding and wellbeing of children and we take this role very seriously. We will not tolerate, as with any racism or discrimination, any incidents of intimidation by or against any member of the club and especially against children and any reports of this will also be investigated and reported to the Middlesex FA.”

It concludes: “Let us stand together, united in our dedication to inclusivity, and let our actions on and off the pitch reflect the true spirit of the beautiful game.”

Jewish News has contacted Maccabi Lions for comment.

If you can assist Panthera FC with its investigation please email

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