Business & Innovation
Disgruntled fans of third-division side Hapoel Jerusalem have become so frustrated with the way the club is being run they have decided to form their own rival team.
Called Hapoel Katamon, the new team will begin playing in October in Liga Alef, the fourth tier of Israeli soccer, if its organizers can raise enough money.
Hapoel Jerusalem was relegated from the second-tier National League at the end of last season after finishing last in the standings - in stark contrast to the city's other team, Betar, which won the Premier League.
Hapoel has been left in a difficult financial situation due to the ongoing ownership dispute between businessmen Victor Yona and Yossi Sassi, causing deep dissatisfaction amongst the supporters of the politically left-wing team.
Uri Sheradsky, one of the organizers of the campaign to launch an alternative team, told The Jerusalem Post he hoped Hapoel Katamon would attract the majority of Hapoel Jerusalem's fans and eventually replace the original team.
"We are trying to collect money from the fans because we want the public behind us," he said.
"We don't want to do it without real support."
This week the backers of the new club began putting up posters around Jerusalem in an effort to encourage fans to buy shares worth NIS 1,000 each.
The posters say: "1973 is still on my mind," referring to the year Hapoel Jerusalem won the State Cup.
The decision by the Jerusalem fans is reminiscent of a similar move by supporters of English league team Wimbledon FC, who in 2002 created an alternative team called AFC Wimbledon after Wimbledon FC was bought by businessmen, moved from London to Milton Keynes and renamed the MK Dons.
By ALLON SINAI
By ALLON SINAI
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