Hapoel Jerusalem is set to embark on a new era on Friday when a group led by
businessman Ori Allon will officially take over the club.
administrator general announced last week that the Allon group, which also
includes New York Knicks power forward Amar’e Stoudemire, advertising bigwig
Eyal Chomski and American sports agent Arn Tellem, won the bid to purchase a 60
percent stake of Hapoel previously owned by Guma Aguiar.
Aguiar’s disappearance at sea off the coast of Florida a year ago, his ownership
stake was put up for sale and the Allon group was awarded his shares after
promising to invest NIS 15 million in the club over the next three
However, the Allon group, headed by the 32-year-old Israeli, who
made his fortune in the US by selling hi-tech startups to Google and Twitter,
will only officially take charge of the club on Friday when the Hapoel Jerusalem
organization approves the deal. The organization, which had owned 40 percent of
the club, was given 90 days to match the Allon group’s offer and seize complete
control of the club.
However, the two parties reached an agreement to
cooperate after several days of negotiations, with the organization to name
three of the 11 board members and also have the right of refusal should the
Allon group choose to sell its stake.
The Allon group will ultimately own
90 percent of the club, with the organization to maintain 10 percent of the
The organization’s board will meet on Friday to officially vote
on the deal, but it has already announced that it will unanimously endorse
Former club chairman Danny Klein, who remains involved with the
organization, was initially believed to be pushing to match Allon’s offer, but
he confirmed on Thursday that he too will vote in favor of the
“The organization came to the conclusion that even if it can
match Allon’s offer it would be better off not to scare away this investment
group,” Klein told Army Radio.
“I’m happy that this is all behind us now
and we need to start working to build a strong Hapoel Jerusalem. I forecast a
bright future for the club. The Allon group owns the club, but they will receive
any help they require from the organization. No one would be happier than me if
these people achieve success with Hapoel Jerusalem.”
With other teams
well into their preparations for next season, the new ownership group will have
little time to waste as it rebuilds the club. As well as players to fill the
roster, Allon will have to select a new CEO and coach, with Brad Greenberg, who
guided Maccabi Haifa to the BSL championship last season, believed to be one of
the favorites for the vacant position.
Meanwhile, Maccabi Tel Aviv
continued to bolster its roster on Thursday, signing playmaker Tyrese Rice to a
The 26-year-old American arrives from FC Bayern Munich
where he averaged 15.8 points and 4.4 assists while helping his team reach the
German League semifinals.