Israeli Soccer Team Owner Apologizes for Blaming Loss on Arab Referee

Former chairman of the Israeli soccer association Avi Luzon said that his team's loss to an Arab-Israeli team was partly due to an Arab referee

Avi Luzon in 2016.
Avi Luzon in 2016.Credit: Sharon Bokov

The former chairman of the Israeli soccer association and the owner of the Maccabi Petah Tikva soccer team, Avi Luzon, apologized on Tuesday for laying the blame for his team's loss on an Arab referee.

“At the end of the game I made a comment that was inappropriate,” Luzon said. “I would like to apologize to anyone who was hurt by my words.”

After the loss on Saturday to the Arab-Israeli team Bnei Sakhnin, Luzon said that the refereeing “was unfair, to say the least,” and that the decision to assign an Arab referee "for a game with a team from the [Arab] community,” was "a mistake."

Luzon said on Tuesday that he is also apologizing “personally to referee Majed Rushrush. I regret the things that were said in the excitement after the game.”

Maccabi Petah Tikva fell into last place after losing 1:0 to Bnei Sakhnin. Two players were removed from the game, leaving their teams two men short. “It’s hard to play nine against 11, and with the referee it’s already against 12,” said Luzon after the game.

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