The Argentine Football Association (AFA), which governs all Argentinian club activity, adopted the International Definition of Antisemitism on 8th October in a move to combat discrimination in the sport. The two-time World Cup winner Argentina is the first national football association to have adopted the Definition.
In the previous day the University of Buenos Aires, with more than 300,000 students, also adopted the Definition.
In recent years, the country’s football culture has come under criticism for several antisemitic controversies. In 2018, fans of the Atlanta team, a Buenos Aires club that is home to a large Jewish neighbourhood and has featured many Jewish players, were targets for chants that stated, “killing the Jews to make soap”, a reference to the claim that the Nazis made soap out of the dead bodies of Jewish victims.
At a football game this year a rival Argentine player, Arnaldo González, made antisemitic gestures towards the rival Atlanta team. While leaving the field, the player placed his hand on his head to imitate a kippah and gestured to his genitals as fans jeered. The AFA decided to adopt the Definition as a direct response to rising antisemitism, particularly amongst spectators, in the sport.
Campaign Against Antisemitism has consistently backed the widespread adoption of the Definition internationally. The UK was the first country in the world to adopt the International Definition, something for which Campaign Against Antisemitism, Lord Eric Pickles and others worked hard over many meetings with officials at Downing Street. Since then, numerous other national governments –including Argentina’s – and institutions have followed suit.