The entire Maccabi Petah Tikva youth soccer team came down with severe food poisoning over the weekend while in the Bulgarian capital of Sofia, causing all members of the team to be hospitalized.
Several of the players are still hospitalized while others have been released, reports Sport 5, noting the team was in the country for training.
The incident started last Friday at facilities connected with the Bulgarian soccer association, where the players came together for a joint dinner.
Israeli soccer association chairman Avi Luzon hinted to the channel that the team's Friday night Shabbat kiddush dinner may have sparked an anti-Semitic backlash in which the players' food was poisoned.
"We have a feeling that someone there didn't like that the players sang in Hebrew on Friday," said Luzon. "We asked that the Bulgarian (soccer) association investigate it urgently."
On Saturday morning every single member of the team complained of severe vomiting and diarrhea, and several of them even fainted. All of them were taken to the emergency room, and several staff members went to buy food for the players outside of the facility so as to avoid the risk of suffering additional food poisoning.
"The players fell hard one after the other, and filled up the emergency room," said Luzon. "From what I understood, it was really frightening. I hope that tomorrow morning they will be able to get on the plane to Israel and to continue the (health) checks."
"We won't let this pass in silence, and I will ask for a thorough investigation, because this was a facility of the (Bulgarian soccer) association."