Jewish football team suspended from league for fielding non-Jewish players
A football team has been suspended from a Jewish league for fielding players from other religions under fake names – after the deception was exposed on Facebook.
Holy Mount Zion were playing in the Maccabi Southern Football League when the referee officiating the match became suspicious.
He heard players officially registered under the names of Danny Potter and Simon Laub being called ‘Mariusz’ and ‘Javier’ by their team-mates.
Eagle-eyed league chiefs investigated and discovered the men’s Facebook profiles under their real names. They suspended Holy Mount Zion after proving Mariusz Mielniczuk and Javier Guevara played under false names.
Rival clubs playing in the London league have called for the team to be “expelled” and accused them of bringing a “disservice” to Jewish football.
League chairman David Woolf said: “The club came to a meeting and admitted that they had been telling lies. The league is concerned that the club is not to be trusted. They’re doing the Jewish community a disservice.”
HMZ manager Rob Lerner told weekly newspaper The Jewish Chronicle he fielded the players because his squad was too small. He said: “I didn’t have much choice. I had to, it is the only way I could get a team out.”
He confirmed that the players knew they were playing under false names and were “not 100 per cent comfortable with it”.
FA qualified referee Nigel Burns was officiating a match between HMZ and Faithfold on January 31 when he heard players call each other by “non-Jewish names”.
When Burns challenged ‘Danny Potter’ and ‘Simon Laub’ after the game one of the players claimed that Mariusz was his “nickname”.
Two days later HMZ manager Lerner identified the players as Danny Potter and Simon Laub in a photo caption for The Jewish Chronicle.
The scam was rumbled when league chiefs spotted the same pictures being used as Facebook profile pictures by Polish personal trainer Mariusz Mielniczuk and Colombian banker Javier Guevara.
Six HMZ players have now been asked by the league to prove their “Jewish origins”.
Players under suspicion include university researcher Luigi Minale, 28, from Milan, Jaime Augusto and Millan Quijano, from Colombia and Guri Singer and Andres Tamayo.
HMZ has now been banned from playing any more games and the results of many of their fixtures could be rendered void, throwing the league into chaos.
Managers of other MSFL sides have called for HMZ to be expelled. Simon Beresford of Faithfold C said: “I think it’s absolutely disgusting what they have done.
“They have shown a complete lack of respect towards the Maccabi League and all of the clubs and people involved with it.”
Team JLGB manager Robert Silverman said: “If they have fielded unregistered players on a number of occasions, they should be expelled.”
From the Daily Telegraph