Arsenal soccer club launches Jewish fan group to combat antisemitism
By Jacob Gurvis, JTA
The English Premier League club Arsenal has launched a new fan affiliate group called the “Jewish Gooners,” as part of its plan to address recent incidents of antisemitism.
The club also announced that it had banned 31 fans for three years each over “abusive and discriminatory behaviour since the start of the 2021/22 season.” Those 31 incidents include five acts of antisemitism, three of which occurred at the team’s Emirates Stadium in London, and two online.
In January, Arsenal launched an investigation into alleged antisemitic incidents that occurred at the stadium and at a local pub during the team’s match against Tottenham, a team known for its sizable Jewish fanbase.
The new affiliate group, the “Jewish Gooners,” which incorporates the nickname for Arsenal fans, will aim to both prevent future antisemitic incidents and to create a more “inclusive” environment for Jewish fans, according to the Jewish Chronicle of London. The Jewish security group Community Security Trust and Britain’s antisemitism czar Lord John Mann are both involved.
“We’re very pleased to welcome the Jewish Gooners supporters’ club to the Arsenal family,” said Arsenal spokesman Mark Brindle. “We’ve already worked together on a number of initiatives and we’re looking forward to building on this in the future.”
Jewish Arsenal fans had been in conversation with the club about creating such a group for more than two years. The group will also enable observant fans to give their tickets to friends when matches fall on Shabbat.
While Arsenal and other clubs have plenty of Jewish fans, Jewish players are rare in the Premier League, arguably the best soccer league in the world. One rising star, Israeli midfielder Manor Solomon, has turned heads with his performance for Fulham F.C., leading to reports that the 23-year-old could draw interest from top teams, including Arsenal.
Arsenal, a London-based team with over a dozen league titles in its 136 years of existence, is currently in the top spot of the Premier League this season.
Jason Robert Brown makes his Segerstrom Center for the Arts Debut
Contemporary composer, orchestrator, and lyricist Jason Robert Brown makes his Segerstrom Center for the Arts debut at Samueli Theater for three performances April 27, 28 and 29 at 7:30 pm. Brown is a celebrated three-time Tony Award winner for his work on “Parade” and “The Bridges of Madison County.”
Brown’s special guest for his Samueli Theater concert is Mykal Kilgore. At the 63rd Annual GRAMMY Awards, Kilgore made history as the first openly gay artist to receive a nomination in the “Best Traditional R&B Performance” category for the song, “The Man In The Barbershop.” Kilgore has appeared on Broadway in “The Book of Mormon, “Motown the Musical, and “Hair” and NBC’s “The Wiz Live!” and “Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.”
Tickets start at $79 and are available at online at SCFTA.org, at the Box Office at 600 Town Center Drive in Costa Mesa, or by calling (714) 556-2787. For inquiries about group ticket discounts for 10 or more, call the Group Services office at (714) 755-0236.