Racism Continues At Beitar Jerusalem Games; Fans Torch Club's Headquarters
Despite "country-wide outcry over the racism" at Beitar Jerusalem football games, "most fans defiantly shouted for the new Muslim players to go home as they streamed into Sunday night’s game at Teddy Stadium against the Bnei Sakhnin team," according to Melanie Lidman of the JERUSALEM POST. Over the past two weeks, more than 20 fans "have been arrested for attacking" Beitar Jerusalem’s guards, "throwing rocks at player’s cars, and in the most extreme example, torching the offices" at the Beitar Jerusalem practice fields in the Bayit Vegan neighborhood of Jerusalem. Some fans "are furious" that Beitar "signed two Muslim players, Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sadayev, from the Chechen team Terek Grozny." Other fans "cautioned that these extreme views were not representative of all" Beitar fans. Reut Moshe, a fan from Kiryat Gat said, "This is really a shame, it’s taking away from the good name of Beitar." Police "escorted some of the more rambunctious fans out of the stadium even before the game started." In a show of support for the Chechnyan players and Beitar management, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, Sports and Culture Minister Limor Livnat, and Chechnya Mayor Ramzan Kadyrov "all attended the game" (JERUSALEM POST, 2/10). In London, Sheera Frenkel wrote, Russian club Owner Arcadi Gaydamak has "refused to back down to pressure from supporters and instead ordered extra security" at games and two full-time bodyguards for the two players. At Sunday night's game against Arab-Israeli team Bnei Sakhnin, 400 police officers and 200 private security guards were on hand (LONDON TIMES, 2/11).
HEADQUARTERS TORCHED: RUSSIA TODAY reported the headquarters of Beitar Jerusalem were "torched on Friday by a group of racist fans." The arson attack "occurred hours after prosecutors filed charges against four Beitar supporters accused of racist chants during their team’s league match" on Jan. 27. The Israeli media reported "serious damage to Beitar’s museum, which holds trophies, championship plates and historic team uniforms" (RT, 2/8).