Hertfordshire – A Potters Bar youth football player has been given a nine-game ban after an insensitive antisemitic post on social media. The incident occurred on September 19 after a match involving Maccabi London FC and Potters Bar United under-14s in a County Cup match, when a minor posted offensive material on social media.
An investigation concluded on Sunday (December 11) after an antisemitic incident occurred after an under-14 football match involving a Potters Bar and a Barnet football team.
This led to a huge backlash from the Jewish community and calls for an investigation, which was then carried out by Herts Police leading to Potters Bar United being issued with numerous punishments for the insensitive act against Jewish team Maccabi London FC (MLFC) under-14s.
A spokesperson for Herts Police said: “An investigation was launched in September 2022 after police were made aware of a post on social media containing anti-Semitic language. The post was made in relation to a football match involving two youth teams based in Hertfordshire.
“Enquiries were carried out and a teenage boy was interviewed under caution. He fully admitted the offence and was dealt with by of community resolution.
“Hate crimes can have a severe impact on victims and on the wider community as a whole. Incidents of this nature will absolutely not be tolerated in Hertfordshire and any reports made to police will be taken seriously and dealt with sensitively.”
The punishments included a nine-game ban for the player, of which two are suspended for one year and shall be automatically invoked should a similar charge be proven in next year. The team was also given nine disciplinary points. There’s also a requirement to complete an FA online education programme and pay a fine, for which the club is responsible as the boy is a minor.
The family of the minor have undertaken an additional education programme regarding Judaism and the Holocaust with a rabbi for a better understanding as to why the post provoked such intense backlash from the Jewish community and beyond. The Met Police also investigated the incident and the case is now closed. MLFC worked closely with the Herts FA, the FA and the Metropolitan Police during the lengthy investigation.
After sharing the incident on Twitter, Maccabian Danny Caro was consequently blocked by Potters Bar United. Potters Bar United has since put out a statement on its website.
A spokesperson for the club said: “Further to an antisemitic post being made on social media, the investigation by Hertfordshire FA into a child player from Potters Bar United (PBU) FC has now been completed. PBU supports the disciplinary ruling that has been made (which includes a playing ban) and has fully co-operated with the investigation at all levels.
“The social media post and subsequent child welfare issues were taken extremely seriously by PBU, and we were all very affected by the incident and its aftermath. We thank the PBU community for their patience, especially those most affected by the post, whilst the investigation was on-going.
“PBU finds any form of discriminatory behaviour totally abhorrent. It has no place at PBU nor in any of our communities. We do not condone any type of discrimination or online bullying and we will work hard to improve our procedures, educate our players and members, and offer support to parents to help teach their children about antisemitism and any type of discrimination.
“As one part of this approach, PBU plans work with Hertfordshire FA, the Police, and appropriate charities to offer training to its players to combat racism, discrimination and promote the safe use of social media for children. PBU is a non-profit organisation run by volunteers. If you can offer any support and expertise to help implement this work, please contact the club as it would be greatly
“We would like to encourage people to report any type of behaviour that is hurtful or damaging, mentally or physically. This can be done to the club directly and through the local FA office, local Police, and the FA’s ‘Kick It Out’ campaign.