Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Jewish Footballers must wear Kippot (skullcaps)

Following on from a posting as to whether the Israel national football team should play on Shabbat, a Jewish football league in the UK has gone one step further.
Jewish footballers could be required to wear skullcaps during all competitive Maccabi league matches from next season as league chiefs bid to improve player behaviour. The Maccabi League is a Jewish footballers league, where every sunday hundreds of Jews play in a competitive league, sometimes too competitive. Recently there have been a lot of complaints of foul play and violence.
Officials at the Maccabi Southern Football League admit that incidents of scuffles between players and dissent towards referees has become an increasing problem during games.
But they believe that the proposed “Knock it on the Head” scheme, which will require all MSFL players to wear official kippot or face fines and suspensions, will inspire teams to treat opponents in a more considerate manner.Maccabi GB’s Stuart Lustigman said: “Too often we have received complaints from referees about player behaviour and the time has come for something had to be done.“We don’t expect this to be popular with all our players but we really feel this will help return the league to its founding principle of promoting strong Jewish values among our young people.”Following a trial match on Sunday afternoon between London Maccabi Lions A and Marshside and Glenthorne, league chiefs are set to vote on whether to introduce the scheme at the annual general meeting in June.Lustigman said: “First of all, we wanted to see how the players would react to the idea. But we’re also trying to decide whether to go with a traditional skullcap, held on by hairclips, or a more sporty number attached to a waterproof chin strap.”Lions joint-manager Ben Winston, whose team ran out 3-0 winners, said: “I’ll be honest, there were mixed reactions from the players but the game was certainly played in a great spirit and if anything the kippot improved our play. At times it felt like there was a twelfth man out there.”

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