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ISRAEL celebrates its 60th birthday today but Avram Grant will not be joining the party.

Instead, the first Israeli to be made coach at one of the world's super clubs finds himself at the centre of a race storm whipped up by his agent.

Pini Zahavi, regarded as the richest and most influential football agent in the world, has accused England of anti-Semitic behaviour towards his client and friend.

Zahavi, who is also an Israeli Jew, claimed that if Grant was from another country or religion then he would have been afforded more respect as manager of Chelsea.

And in a further allegation, the self-styled super agent also said that there is anti-Jewish discrimination aimed at Chelsea owner Roman Abramovich.

Zahavi has known Grant for over 20 years and helped broker the sale of Chelsea to Abramovich in 2003.

SunSport yesterday revealed the pressure Grant feels under after Portsmouth midfielder and another friend, Richard Hughes, claimed the Blues boss may step down in the summer.

Now Zahavi's claims of anti-Semitism will intensify that — especially as they are backed up with little except personal opinion and are bound to cause trouble for Grant and Chelsea.

“There are no words to describe the mistreatment Avram is receiving,†Zahavi said in an interview with Israeli daily newspaper Ma'ariv.

Yet to chant Grant's name


“They are sucking his blood on a daily basis regardless of his victories and what he achieves.

“You know what, maybe if he hadn't been Israeli or Jewish, it might have been different.

“Obviously there is some sort of anti-Semitism here, especially if one remembers who appointed him. Abramovich is not only Jewish but also Russian and Jewish. So the Chelsea fans love him, but the rest of the fans in England certainly don't.â€

It remains a fact that those same Chelsea fans who idolise Abramovich have yet to chant Grant's name.

Even after last week's historic win over Liverpool secured a Champions League final spot, the Blues faithful did not sing the way they did for Jose Mourinho or even Claudio Ranieri.

But no one before has cited racism as the reason for the fans' reaction.

In fact, Grant himself has acknowledged it would take some time, maybe even years, before the memory of the ‘Special One' might be put to rest.

What Grant, and Zahavi for that matter, perhaps need to consider is that any disaffection with the appointment of Mourinho's successor has to do with the circumstances.

The fact remains that Abramovich replaced arguably the best coach in Europe with one of his mates — who had never worked as a manager outside of Israel.

Any suspicion or scepticism voiced by football fans and the football media was based on his CV — not his race or religion.

At least his agent and friend conceded as much when he reflected on the day last September when Grant was unveiled as Chelsea head coach.

Zahavi said: “I never imagined his appointment would be so sudden. It might have happened too fast. Abramovich took the decision. I was not involved. On the day he was appointed I told Avram: ‘You are either mentally ill or extremely courageous'.

"To come like that, and step into the giant shoes of Jose Mourinho, not only as manager but also someone who became a media celebrity and a fans' idol.
“And in Grant we are talking about an Israeli who never coached outside Israel, which is less than a ****roach in world football. It was clear the media reaction would be terrible.â€

Zahavi's comments are extremely ill-timed given that Grant could lead Chelsea to a Premier League title on Sunday.

Furthermore, given the widespread and respectful coverage given to Grant's pilgrimage to Auschwitz last week, they hold little water. The man himself put his achievements into context as he addressed survivors of the Holocaust, which included his own father.

He said: “The fact I am leading such a glamorous club to the Champions League final exactly 65 years after those horrors is for me the greatest victory. Actually, not for me, but for all of us.â€

Then, as he walked along the railtrack which is an horrific reminder of the Nazi atrocities committed in Birkenau, Grant made another salient point. He added: “This place puts things in perspective and being here should remind people not to create wars in places which are unnecessary.â€

If only Zahavi had listened to his friend.


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Very Very dodgy ground to be walking on here.
I'd advise anyone to think very carefully before
they make a post on this thread.

Nothing to do with the thread starter, as he has
only quoted from what is in todays newspapers.

There are people on here from all over the world,
from every different race and religion and it is very
easy for typed words on a forum to be taken the wrong way.

I've no love for Grant but only because he is the manager
of our closest rivals this season.
He could be any race or religious belief and i'd still not
have any love for him.

There is no place in football, or in the world come to that,
for racism of any sort.

The ONLY race is the human race.
.
 

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Discussion Starter #3
SALFORD RED said:
Very Very dodgy ground to be walking on here.
I'd advise anyone to think very carefully before
they make a post on this thread.

Nothing to do with the thread starter, as he has
only quoted from what is in todays newspapers.

There are people on here from all over the world,
from every different race and religion and it is very
easy for typed words on a forum to be taken the wrong way.

I've no love for Grant but only because he is the manager
of our closest rivals this season.
He could be any race or religious belief and i'd still not
have any love for him.

There is no place in football, or in the world come to that,
for racism of any sort.

The ONLY race is the human race.
.
:) Very well said salford red, lets keep it sensible in the best footy forum in the world :)
 

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Pz
Joined
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2,062 Posts
SALFORD RED said:
Very Very dodgy ground to be walking on here.
I'd advise anyone to think very carefully before
they make a post on this thread.

Nothing to do with the thread starter, as he has
only quoted from what is in todays newspapers.

There are people on here from all over the world,
from every different race and religion and it is very
easy for typed words on a forum to be taken the wrong way.

I've no love for Grant but only because he is the manager
of our closest rivals this season.
He could be any race or religious belief and i'd still not
have any love for him.

There is no place in football, or in the world come to that,
for racism of any sort.

The ONLY race is the human race.
.

quality post, hope all agree.

pz
 

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I don't buy it. Perhaps they're still bitter towards over the circumstances in which he replaced their "Special One". Mourinho gave them 2 PL Titles in a row, after a 50 year wait, he gave them 6 Trophies in 3 Seasons. He is practically a God to them. Its not surprising at all, that they'd react this way.

Maybe if he wins the CL and/or PL, they might warm up to him and give him the credit he deserves.

I don't believe it has to do with him being Israeli or Jewish. Hell, even Ben Haim came out and criticised him. He made his feelings about Avram pretty clear.
 

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I think Zahavi is grasping at straws & for the life of me I can't understand what the purpose of him making those comments was. What were they meant to achieve? Personally I've never appreciated Zahavi mainly because he is a money hound who only sees big dollar signs everywhere he looks. "Super Agent" my rear end. Also I admire Grant, so there you go.
 

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Zhavi has baseless claims, he's just too suspicious and paranoid in his daily life. To say Grant is discriminated against is very unfair on everyone. But this is a dismissive article anyway, the anti jewish/israeli claims are unsubstantiated and dismissed by zhavi himself. bit of a weird guy this zhavi.. i wonder if i'll become rich just because i'm weird as well?
 
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