Salem Radio Network News Saturday, September 23, 2023


Soccer-Beitar Jerusalem barred from European play for one year

(Reuters) – Israel’s Beitar Jerusalem will be ineligible to participate in European competitions in the upcoming season after fans stormed the field following a championship win last month, the Israel Football Association said Monday.

Israeli president Isaac Herzog was rushed out of a soccer stadium on May 23 in the northern city of Haifa after jubilant fans rushed the pitch when the Beitar team won the State Cup in a 3-0 win against Maccabi Netanya.

The fans also threw flares and other objects onto the pitch during the match, according to the association.

The decision means that Beitar will be barred from participating in the next edition of the UEFA Conference League, for which they qualified by winning the Cup.

It was not immediately clear who would take Beitar’s spot in the second qualification round of the Conference League.

Beitar were also ordered to pay a fine of 70,000 shekels ($18,700) and received a three-point probational deduction in league play for the upcoming season.

Beitar have one of the worst disciplinary records in Israel’s Premier League and have received punishments that include points deductions, fines and matches behind closed doors.

Israel’s Culture and Sport Minister Miki Zohar said the punishment was too harsh and that the players should not have to pay the price for the fans’ behaviour.

“The team won the cup and therefore it deserves to play in Europe,” Zohar tweeted. “Collective punishments are not a solution.”

The club are a bastion of Israel’s political right-wing and a group of supporters known as “La Familia” has been openly abusive toward Israel’s Arab minority.

Beitar ended in seventh place in the regular season of the Israeli Premier League, and second in the relegation side of the play-off.

($1 = 3.7402 shekels)

(Reporting by Tommy Lund in Gdansk and Maayan Lubell, Editing by Rosalba O’Brien)


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