Maccabi Haifa fans in Lisbon: “We went through real sexual harassment”

Many of the Maccabi Haifa fans who were present last night (Tuesday) at the team’s game against Benfica Lisbon claim that the local security forces subjected them to a search that included rough touching of intimate parts as a sexual goal. In addition, many fans claim that the security forces and the police forced them to march together with the entire visiting crowd to the metro station at the end of the game, leading them along the road in a crowded manner and preventing any possibility of leaving the march even for those who came in private vehicles – and those who tried to leave the march were violently attacked.

In addition, many green fans complained that the security guards at the Stadium of Light groped their private parts and women also complained of harassing touches. At Maccabi Haifa we contacted the representative of the Israeli police on the spot and asked him to conduct an investigation on the matter, when UEFA was also informed of the fans’ claims.

It started from the exit from the square. The green crowd in the hours before the game | Walla! System, Shlomo Weiss, Lisbon

One of the fans who was there and experienced difficult moments, Reut Polanski, described to Walla! Sports what she went through: “I have been a soccer fan for 23 years, I have been all over the world with Maccabi Haifa. I am 35 years old and in my life I have never been through or seen what we went through and saw in Lisbon. On the morning of the match day, Maccabi sent us instructions for arriving at the game, so that three hours before the game we were We need to get to commerce square. From there we went down towards the metro and from there started a nightmare that continued until the moment we returned back to the metro at the end of the game.

“In the metro, police officers with shields and batons were waiting for us and pushed us towards the train. When we left the metro, we were led as a herd towards the stadium, with policemen standing on our sides with shields and batons. We are not allowed to leave the path, not for personal needs, not to buy drinks on the side of the road and not to buy some souvenir. Those who try to leave are pushed away with these, a man who managed to leave was beaten. At the entrance to the stadium, they divided us into groups by force. Police separated us, and separated and pushed until there was a buffer between the groups of fans. Each time they released a small part of the fans in the direction of the security check, they put us between fences that became Narrower and narrower to the width that only one person can pass,” Polanski continued.

Maccabi Haifa fans in the stands. Hard evidence from Lisbon | Imagebank GettyImages, CARLOS COSTA/AFP

“After the fences, they let us in one after the other with big differences and each of us was sexually harassed – women, children, the elderly, the disabled. The security guards were wearing gloves, I was directed to the security guard who started with a normal check, touched my legs and from there started going up the body. Then she came towards my chest, put her hand under my shirt and lifted my bra. I yelled at her not to touch me like that, so she got angry, called another security guard and told her I was causing trouble. The other security guard told me that if I resisted the search, I wouldn’t be able to enter the stadium, and I told her that I I don’t object to the inspection, but it is sexual harassment to send hands under the bra.

“The second security guard said she was asking for permission to check me again, and I replied that as long as the check is fair there is no problem. Again she started touching me from below, started to go up and then pulled my jeans, pushed her whole hand towards my butt and inserted a finger inside me. I screamed on her and I pushed her. A policewoman ran to me, grabbed my hand and took me aside – that’s when tears were already in my throat. I explained to her what the two security guards did to me and she claimed that these were instructions from UEFA, and that if I resisted the check one more time they would leave me outside the stadium And they will take care of me.”

Polanski said that this was not the end: “The police officer put me through a similar check on the side, lifted my shirt, touched my chest and touched the two intimate areas of my body, but above the clothes. Then she opened the small pouch I was wearing, took my lighter and the Loblo lipstick , threw in the trash and let me in.

“I stood aside and waited for my friends to enter, and it was a shocking sight – women, children, men and disabled people who put their hands in their underwear and touched their intimate areas. They treated us violently,” Polanski sums up the ordeal, “after the game they left us in the stadium for about an hour and when they opened the gates for us So we entered the same path again. The police led us to the entrance to the metro, prevented exit from the path and beat those who tried to leave.”

Avishai Klein, who was also present at the game, told Walla! Sports on a not easy evening: “I have never been through an inspection like the one we went through here. Even the women had their hands put in their bras, even little girls, it felt like we had come to war. It was simply humiliating. The security guards asked us to stretch our legs and then put a hand in from each side to check that we weren’t hiding anything In Israel this is called sexual harassment.”

The article is Hebrew

Tags: Maccabi Haifa fans Lisbon real sexual harassment