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After weeks of fervent speculation, Shlomi Arbeitman yesterday signed with Hapoel Tel Aviv, which will pay Maccabi Haifa NIS 100,000 for the loan of the player.

In addition, Hapoel will have the option of purchasing Arbeitman at the end of the season for $550,000.

The teams agreed that if Hapoel buys Arbeitman and then sells him to a club abroad, they will split the proceeds between themselves.

If Tel Aviv chooses not to acquire the player at the end of the season, it will pay Haifa compensation of $100,000. "I'm just delighted the thing ended as best it could," Arbeitman said. "Now it's time for me to prove my value on the field."

Israel's Under 23 squad yesterday played and defeated a Russian team, in its final test before the decisive match against Northern Ireland, as part of the European Cup preliminary round. The squad beat Shinnik Yaroslavl 4-2, with goals from Itay Shechter, Meir Buzaglo, Lior Zan and Uri Shitreet. Shinnik plays in Russia's top league and has a budget of $25 million. It is currently in Israel participating in a training camp in Caesarea. (Rachel Levinger)

Kiryat Shmona yesterday decided not to sign Jewish-American soccer player Ben Benbedessen. The 24-year-old player had tried out for the northern club but its management released him, after deciding not to add him to the roster. (Oren Yermiyahu)

Maccabi Netanya will play with its youth team's goalkeeper against Maccabi Petah Tikva on Saturday after its regular goalkeeper Liran Strauber pulled a hamstring. In response, Coach Reuven Atar decided to give youth team goalie Daniel Lifshitz his big Premier League debut this week. (Dor Blech)