London: Chelsea have formally complained to Malaysia's football federation after Israel midfielder Yossi Benayoun faced anti-Semitic abuse during a preseason friendly in the Muslim-majority nation.
In last Thursday's match against a Malaysian XI, Benayoun was jeered and booed as he became the first Israeli in recent memory to play in the country, which is a staunch supporter of the Palestinians and has no diplomatic ties with Israel.
"Notwithstanding most fans behaving appropriately on the night, we believe Yossi was subjected to anti-Semitic abuse by a number of supporters at the game," Chelsea said on Wednesday in a statement on its website. "Such behavior is offensive, totally unacceptable and has no place in football."
The Premier League club, which is now in Hong Kong, did not complain to the Football Association of Malaysia at the time.
The Malaysian association's general secretary, Azzuddin Ahmad, did not immediately answer calls made to his cell phone, and other officials declined to comment.
"It was initially unclear as to the nature of the abuse Yossi received, as several players from both teams experienced similar treatment, sometimes louder and longer," Chelsea said. "However, having taken time to consider the issue fully, it has become apparent that a formal complaint was necessary."
Chelsea is owned by Russian oligarch Roman Abramovich, who is also Jewish.