The West Ham supporters were on a Ryanair flight to Belgium where their club was playing KRC Genk. On the flight out, fans were filmed chanting “I’ve got a foreskin haven’t you, f***ing Jew” at a Hasidic fellow passenger.
Two men have now been arrested in connection with the incident. Essex Police released a statement on 5th November in which they confirmed that a 55-year-old man was arrested at Stansted Airport just before 16:00 on Friday. The man was arrested as he stepped off the plane from Belgium and was taken in to an Essex Police Station for questioning.
Essex Police Chief Superintendent Tom Simons, who is leading the investigation, later said: “Essex Police will not tolerate racism or discrimination of any kind. Having been made aware of the incident this morning, officers worked quickly to secure an arrest at the earliest possible opportunity.”
It has since emerged that a second arrest has been made. Essex Police announced that a 26-year-old man was arrested yesterday at approximately 16:30 as he stepped off a flight from the Netherlands. The 26-year-old was also taken in for questioning and has been released on police bail until 1st December. The police confirmed that the man was arrested on suspicion of Section 4A Public Order (racially or religiously aggravated).
Regarding the incident on the flight, a West Ham spokesperson has said in a statement: “West Ham United is appalled by the contents of the video circulating on social media and condemn the behaviour of the individuals involved. The club is liaising with the airline and relevant authorities to identify the individuals. We continue to be unequivocal in our stance – we have a zero-tolerance approach to any form of discrimination. Any individuals identified will be issued with an indefinite ban from the club. Equality, diversity and inclusion are at the heart of the football club and we do not welcome any individuals who do not share those values.”
Campaign Against Antisemitism has written to Ryanair asking what was done to protect the Jewish victim of the antisemitic chanting by the West Ham fans and how the airline will help the club identify and ban these supporters for life.