Michael Freilich, editor-in-chief of the Joods Actueel magazine and one of the main personalities of the Jewish community in Flanders wants the Club Brugge soccer club to do more to rid its stadium of antisemitic chants. Following the airing of a video clip taped at the recent Brugge-Anderlecht match on which Brugge supporters could be heard singing anti-Semitic chants, Freilich went on Thursday to the Flanders club, where he showed images of World War II and the Auschwitz extermination camp. This symbolic act, he said, should help sensitise the club’s supporters.
“It’s important to place people before the facts,” Freilich said. “It’s been said that [the chanting] was irony directed at the Anderlecht supporters, but when you speak of SS or burning, you must know which Jews it’s about.”
The editor-in-chief said he would not file a legal complaint. “Antisemitism concerns the entire society, that’s why I’ve asked the governor of the province to react.”
Michael Freilich had a brief conversation at the club but did not receive any apology. “Twelve years ago, I wrote an article on this issue and it continues today,” he said. “It’s the fault of the club, which has not communicated with its supporters and which has not complained. The sponsors also bear their share of responsibility and are associated with this.”
The Club Brugge is distancing itself from the incident. It immediately banned a dozen supporters from the stadium. Since the club has this prerogative, the local police did not intervene although they had been informed.
The club also wants to implement additional measures to prevent a recurrence of such incidents.