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Beitar Jerusalem yesterday issued a sharp rebuttal against the highest tribunal of the Israel Football Association, which rejected its appeal to have two points deducted for fan misconduct.

The club called the punishment "harsh, discriminatory and unsportsmanlike" in its statement. The club said that rather than helping management combat violence and racism, the IFA tribunals were more interested in harming Beitar.

The three-judge panel rejected Beitar's petition to reverse a two-point deduction, which put the team dangerously close to the relegation zone, by a two-to-one margin. Nadia Halabi wrote the minority opionion, which supported replacing the point deduction with making Beitar play a home game with no spectators in order to hold the club responsible for fan behavior but also to put pressure on the fans.

IFA officials rejected Beitar's criticism. They said that on numerous occasions in the past, when the tribunal eased reduced punishments for the team, the club did not complain.

Referring to Beitar's chairman, one official said, "Itzik Kornfein really should take care of business in the team before he complains about honorable judges, who make independent decisions."