The United Macedonian Diaspora (UMD), a leading organization committed to representing the views and interests of the Macedonian diaspora across the world, has condemned a recent spate of violent and racially charged incidents prior to soccer matches in Macedonia.
On November 4, 2018, a video was recorded allegedly showing a large group of Shkendija soccer team fans marching in Tetovo chanting racial and religious slurs and throwing rocks and glass bottles at a local cafe.
The phrases “Macedonian girl, you whore!” and “Die Kaur [Christian or non-believer], die!” can be heard before a soccer game between the “Shkendija” and “Shkupi” teams.
Responding to the Tetovo incident, Stojan Nikolov, Chairman of the United Macedonian Diaspora, said:
“The Football Federation of Macedonia and the UEFA need to investigate the demonstration and pursue disciplinary action against Shkendija and its fans for this most recent event, as well as any other football clubs and supporters who engage in despicable and inflammatory actions such as this.”
Metodija A. Koloski, President of the United Macedonian Diaspora, said:
“This is not the first instance in which supporters of local football clubs in the UEFA have used nationalist songs, and racial, gender and religious slurs to incite tension and violence.
“But Macedonia is at an extraordinarily vulnerable place, and it is critical that this kind of behaviour gets denounced immediately.
“Teuta Arifi, the Mayor of Tetovo, has yet to comment on the incident, let alone condemn it. Whatever one’s religious, ethnic or political persuasion, we must all unite to ensure this kind of behaviour gets removed from a sports game attended by fans and their families.
“Failing to publicly condemn ethnic and religiously targeted hate speech and violence lends tacit support to the perpetrators, and that is inexcusable.”