A day after battling in a memorable match, Betar Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv
engaged in a war of words on Tuesday.
The controversial sending off of
Hapoel’s Toto Tamuz and the alleged racist abuse directed at him by Betar fans
had both clubs up in arms.
The incident in question occurred in the 65th
minute of the showdown at Teddy Stadium when Tamuz was shown a second yellow
card by referee Orel Greenfeld for putting his finger to his mouth to silence
the crowd after giving Hapoel a 2-1 lead.
Greenfeld determined that Tamuz
deserved a second yellow as he was provoking the fans of his former team,
although such goal celebrations are regularly seen in Europe, with the likes of
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo never being booked in such
Betar went on to claim a 3-2 victory against 10-man Hapoel and
the Reds directed their fury towards Greenfeld and claimed that Tamuz’s reaction
was a result of the racist abuse he had endured since the start of the
“Hapoel Tel Aviv is backing Toto Tamuz, who suffered from an ugly
racist attack by Betar Jerusalem fans, who howled at him, threw bananas at him
and cursed him in an offensive manner which shouldn’t be tolerated,” read a
Hapoel letter sent to Israel Football Association chairman Avi
“Racism is intolerable and unforgivable and we will fight it with
all our means.
“Tamuz’s sending off was a reward to racism and a
distorted justification of this dangerous phenomenon.”
Tamuz faces at
least a one-match suspension for his red card, but could also sit out two games
or more, including the Tel Aviv derby, as he was charged by the IFA due to his
reaction towards Greenfeld after being given his marching orders.
will not stand trial for racist behavior as Greenfeld didn’t mention any such
incidents in his match report.
“Hapoel Tel Aviv’s claims of howling and
racism directed at Toto Tamuz are an unsuccessful attempt to find an excuse for
their defeat and to vilify the Betar fans,” a Betar press release
“We are certain that had there been any racist behavior it would
have been mentioned in the referee’s report the way it was after last season’s
match against Hapoel.
“Hapoel should restrain Tamuz, who provokes the
Betar fans every time the teams meet.
“It is about time Tamuz gets the
punishment he deserves for his provocative behavior.”
Eric Djemba Djemba backed his team’s version of events, claiming that Tamuz was
put in an impossible situation.
“I know it’s football and sometimes the
fans can use any type of way to destroy the player, but yesterday it was really
difficult to accept what happened,” he said on Tuesday.
“When you are
playing and they call you ‘cushi’ [Hebrew for negro] that is something that is
very hard to take.
“I think Toto was very frustrated because when we
walked on to the pitch they threw bananas at us.
“They need to stop doing
it. Football is not about color, it’s about playing. It’s a sport.
was the first time I have seen this in Israel, the first time I saw a sign of
racism,” added the former Manchester United midfielder.
experience and I know how to deal with this, but Toto is young and it was
difficult for him to get it.
“When he scored he just reacted. It came
from the heart. It was impossible for him.
“I love this country and I’m
happy to be here, but it’s just football. It is sport. It’s not about