The Shmooze

Jewish Identity Scandal in British Soccer League

By Katherine Clarke

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Soccer manager Rob Lerner of London’s Holy Mount Zion Team allowed non-Jewish players to play under false names while competing in the Maccabi Southern Football League, reports the Jewish Chronicle.

FIFA-qualified referee, Nigel Burns, became suspicious mid-match when he heard the players, officially Danny Potter and Simon Laub, refer to each other by their real names, Mariusz Mielniczuk and Javier Guevara. The former later claimed that Mariusz was only a nickname.

The ultimate realization came as the result of a photo taken by a JC photographer. When the British newspaper requested captions for the image, it was given the names Potter and Laub. The same images, posted by team members on Facebook, contradicted the information: the same two players were tagged as Mariusz Mielniczuk, a Polish personal trainer, and Javier Guevara, a banker from Colombia.

The players are now at the center of an investigation into the recruitment of non-Jewish players, and HMZ’s matches have been suspended until all players can prove their Jewish faith. Managers of other teams have called for the team to be permanently expelled from the league.

When asked why he accepted non-Jewish players, Lerer told the JC: “I didn’t have much choice. I had to, it is the only way I could get a team out.” This is an enduring problem for a number of Jewish-only clubs, who often show up with incomplete teams, hoping for the best.


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