Boca Juniors and River Plate signed this Sunday a commitment to combat hate in football within the framework of the Latin American Forum to Combat Anti-Semitism held in Buenos Aires.
With the signature of the president of Boca Juniors, Jorge Ameal, and his counterpart from River Plate, Jorge Brito, both clubs adhered to the definition of anti-Semitism of the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA, for its acronym in English) .
“So that passion does not allow hatred,” said the Executive Director of the Latin American Jewish Congress, Claudio Epelman, inviting them to the stage.
“Let it become proof that soccer also helps us to establish bonds, to build coexistence on and off the field,” added Epelman, after signing the declaration.
On stage, they were also greeted by Israel’s Foreign Minister, Ruth Cohen-Dar, who received the jerseys of both teams, historic rivals, and joked that she will wear both.
The act began with a video of degrading and discriminatory chants from the fans on the soccer fields, and ended with a call for “coexistence” and against anti-Semitism and hate speech on and off the field.
Brito referred to the video with the discriminatory chants saying that he felt “something very hard in his heart” and called for “working so that these things never happen again.”
The president of River Plate considered that “these expressions are marginal”, but indicated that as the presidents of the most important soccer groups in Argentina they have to work “in coordination with the players” to “transmit a message of peace so that these things do not happen more in football”.
“The issue of discrimination is tremendous” and “we have to abolish it in any way,” said Ameal, who vindicated the forum and urged to “look forward” while remembering the Boca Shalom group.
At the close, comedian Roberto Moldasvsky, a Boca Juniors fan, joked that “in addition to the issue of racism, we have to improve the issue of penalties. That is going to bring out a lot of violence”, in what is understood as a reference to the last failed by the team. “Kick more to the goal, people calm down, you shoot two penalties outside and the worst of each one comes out,” he added.
The forum, which will conclude on Monday, brings together hundreds of legislators, judges, officials and leaders from across the region in Buenos Aires to discuss the main challenges posed by anti-Semitism in Latin America and possible strategies to address discrimination.
The two-day event is an initiative of the Latin American Jewish Congress and the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in conjunction with the Latino Coalition for Israel, Combat Antisemitism Movement (CAM), and Hatzad Hasheni.