Marseilles soccer fans will over their heads in a show of solidarity and support with the city’s Jewish community at an upcoming French Cup match on Wednesday.
Supporters of one of the leading French football clubs, Olympique Marseille (OM), have announced that they will cover their heads during the key cup match, in solidarity with the city’s Jewish community.
The call to wear “headgear” will come when the team plays Montpellier in Wednesday’s match. The game will take place at the Stade Vélodrome in Marseille.
The Marseille supporters’ club, CCS, said in a statement that it would call on all fans to wear “a head covering, a hat or a cap”. The fan club said that his act should be done “in order that we should never again be afraid to be who we are, that all our cultures remain rich and support our individual freedoms.”
The head of the club, Laurence Pelissier, told Le Monde newspaper, “It’s necessary to convey a message of peace and solidarity. We need to make sure that everyone is aware that all this should stop. It’s not normal that people should have to take off their kippot in order to walk around.”
Two other fan clubs also joined in on the initiative. The “Handi Fan Club”, as well as “Om Friends”.
Michel Tonini , President of the association told Le Monde that "We [OM Friends] are showing our solidarity with the victim and we share in the community’s sadness. Politicians are unable to do anything. But the OM supporters clubs do not have to carry on the guilt on their shoulders for the problems resulting from this dramatic occurrence that reflects on the entire country."
Christian Coulibaly, Vice President of OM Friends, which has over 5000 subscribers, said that his club’s supporters could not be more clear about the condemnation of Monday's attack : "It is unacceptable to have to hide. It is necessary that everyone lives with respect for each other. That's what made this whole ordeal horrible. Personally, I am fed up with these attacks. It has to stop.”
Other fan groups such as the “Yankees” , which according to Le Parisien newsite is one of the most important, are also interested in the initiative. As of this report they have not yet confirmed any involvement . "The responses we are getting are very encouraging ," said Raphael Haddad, a media adviser of the Chief Rabbi of France Haim Korsia.
The move by the fans comes after a lot of heated discussion took place regarding whether or not French Jews should wear their kippot in public for fear of being attacked. Recently kippot were handed out in the street for the public to wear, and even French parliament members wore kippot to show their solidarity for the community after last week's attack.