Far-right Soccer Fans Storm Jerusalem Training Session Over Potential UAE Investment

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Beitar Jerusalem fans storm the training facilities, December 4, 2020
Beitar Jerusalem fans storm the training facilities, December 4, 2020Credit: Screenshot

Far-right fans of a Jerusalem soccer club distrupted the team's training session and chanted racist refrains over negotiations with an Abu Dhabi sheikh to take over the soccer club.

Israeli sports channel reported that about 100 fans broke onto the field as negotiations between Beitar Jerusalem owner Moshe Hogeg and Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the royal family in Abu Dhabi, took place.

Footage of the fans storming the pitch Credit: Shlomi Heller

Walla Sports and Sport 5 also reported that fans shouted at the players “put on a keffiyeh,” sang “Mohammed is dead” and snarled at Ali Muhammad, the team’s Muslim midfielder. A segment of the club's supporters, known as the La Familia, have a racist history, opposing the recruitment of Arab players and taking part in violence against anti-Netanyahu protesters

The fans hung a sign on the pitch’s fence reading, “84 years of character can’t be bought for Bitcoin, dollars or euros.” Hogeg made his fortune in virtual coin ventures, while Khalifa is also involved in blockchain deals. The two met on Thursday to strike a deal worth an estimated 25 million euros ($30 million).

According to the Sport 5, Beitar officials called the police, and special patrol forces dispersed the fans, who had broken onto the field, forcing the training in preparation for Monday's game against Hapoel Be’er Sheva to stop.

Beitar Jerusalem responded to the incident: “We thank the team’s tens of thousands of fans for their sweeping support of the move the club is making. No force, including the 70 people who came today, will move us from the path the absolute majority of Beitar fans have chosen. We are proud of the moves that are developing. We will continue them and we will march the club to a place that suits you and us."

Moshe Hogeg, who took over the club in 2018, has sought to tackle racism among the supporters and rehabilitate the image of the club.

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