Fan nabbed for racism against Muslim Betar player

By MELANIE LIDMAN
February 15, 2013 15:30

Police arrest man who arrived at Jerusalem soccer club's practice, yelled racist taunts at Chechen soccer player.

1 minute read.



FANS OF Betar Jerusalem shout slogans during a match against the Arab team Bnei Sakhnin

Fans shout at Betar Jerusalem match 370. (photo credit:REUTERS)

Police arrested a man outside the practice of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team on Friday afternoon after he yelled racist comments at a new Muslim player from Chechnya.

The incident is the latest in a series of actions committed by Beitar supporters who are furious with the team management for signing two Muslim players from the Chechen team Terek Grozny, defender Dzhabrail Kadiyev, 19, and striker Zaur Sadayev, 23.

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On January 26, fans raised an enormous banner in the stands at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem reading in Hebrew “Beitar Pure Forever,” referring to the fact they would not welcome Muslim players.

Fans have also attacked team security guards and thrown rocks at players’ cars.

On February 8, fans torched the management offices in the team’s practice facility in Bayit Vegan, causing extensive damage to the offices and destroying memorabilia at the club’s museum.

On Tuesday night, police arrested four Beitar fans who identify as part of the hardcore supporters group La Familia in connection with the arson.

Sadayev is injured, but Kadiyev played his first match with Beitar on Sunday night, a 2-2 home tie against Bnei Sakhnin during a heavily guarded game with more than 500 police officers and security guards present.

Kadiyev attracted many cheers of supports, as well as boos, every time he touched the ball.

“I hope they will understand that this step was taken and there is no way back [to a team without Muslims],” Beitar chairman Itzik Kornfein said after the game on Sunday.

“We will continue with [the Chechen players], we don’t want to go backward,” said Kornfein, adding that he had been assigned a security detail following the arson.

More than 30 Beitar fans have been arrested over the past three weeks in connection with violence and incitement.

The only other time a Muslim played for the team was in 2005. But Nigerian defender Ndala Ibrahim soon left after facing hostility from fans.

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