IFA high court
Photo: Jonathan Hauerstock

Soccer team penalized for fans' behavior

IFA rules Beitar Jerusalem must play two matches without supporters due to fans' condemned actions during minute of silence for Yitzhak Rabin

Beitar Jerusalem has been slapped with a two-match crowd ban following the behavior of Beitar's fans during a minute of silence held in the memory of assassinated prime minister Yitzhak Rabin this week.


The Israeli Football Association (IFA) delivered the sentence after having found the team guilty of unsportsmanlike conduct with severe circumstances. In addition, a suspended sentence of two additional games without supporters was handed down to the team.


Beitar's management is expected to appeal the decision in IFA's high court.


The ruling was passed after hours of deliberations, during the course of which IFA officials viewed the taped footage of the game. In its ruling, the IFA said: "This was a mass disruption on the part of a significant part of the supporters among Beitar fans. The number of disrupters reached into the hundreds.


"The issue at heart is (respecting Rabin's memory), something considered to be a national consensus

and an assault on it is an assault on our democratic existence. Due to that consensus, the excess of

those supporters shook the country, crossed every red line. This incident has nothing to do with freedom of expression.


Earlier, Beitar owner Arkady Gaydamak said the holding of a memorial ceremony at a soccer game for Rabin was a mistake.


MK Avshalom Vilan (Meretz) slammed the penalty and called it an absolute "mockery." The relatively light punishment, he said, would not deter Beitar fans from revisiting this kind of behavior. "Unfortunately, there is no answer for the particular brand of stupidity and crudeness displayed by Beitar fans," said Vilan.


MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) said the sentence was "embarrassing in its lack of seriousness, perhaps there should never have been an IFA hearing at all if this is the result. Unfortunately, nothing is being done to truly deal with the incitement and racism rampant in the stadiums. Without a firm and decisive plan, Israeli society will only continue to suffer from this rowdy mob and civilized people will not even be able to set foot in the bleachers."


פרסום ראשון: 11.08.07, 12:38
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