Eli Tabib .
(photo credit: ADI AVISHAI)
Beitar Jerusalem owner Eli Tabib announced on Tuesday that he has decided to depart the club, explaining that he has had enough of the team’s unruly supporters.
Tabib took over the club five years ago, a year after he was chased out of Hapoel Tel Aviv by the team’s fans, ultimately selling his ownership stake to former ember of Knesset Haim Ramon after incessant protests by supporters outside his home and at the side’s matches.
Tabib initially got on with the Beitar fans, including extreme supporter group La Familia. But he said on Tuesday that the numerous punishments the team had been handed by the Israel Football Association for the racist chanting and violent behavior by a small minority of the club’s faithful had cost him millions of shekels and left him with no option but to leave.
“We are coming to the end of a fantastic season, the best Beitar has experienced in 10 years,” said Tabib. “Nevertheless, there is a sense of sadness which I don’t understand. The team can set a new club record for goals in a season and has scored in a record 40 straight league matches and most importantly has once more secured its place in European competition. The club was fighting for its life when I joined. I took over the club with a debt of NIS 22 million. I would never want to hurt Beitar, so I’m stepping aside until a new suitable owner comes along. This is my final decision. I’m a person who doesn’t give up, but enough is enough.”
Tabib’s press conference on Tuesday was very similar to one he held almost exactly three years ago. He insisted at the time that he was looking to sell Beitar, but said he would only do so should his demands be met.
“I will leave when I find the right person or group to take over the club. Beitar is up for sale, but in the meantime my staff and I will continue to prepare the club for next season,” Tabib said in June 2015, a statement he repeated almost word for word on Tuesday.
Beitar’s season has ended in disappointment, with three defeats in less than two weeks ending its surprise Premier League title challenge and hopes of winning the State Cup for the first time in a decade.
The team suffered two consecutive 4-1 losses in league action against Maccabi Netanya and Hapoel Beersheba to lose any realistic chance of claiming the championship before falling 3-1 in extra-time to Hapoel Haifa in last Wednesday’s cup final.
Tabib wasn’t supposed to be involved in the running of the club this season, serving a two-year suspension due to a ruling made by the Israel Football Association’s ownership transfer committee last summer following his conviction in June 2015 of assaulting a minor and of disruption of justice.
Eli Ohana was hired as Beitar’s top professional and administrative authority ahead of the season, but Tabib remained heavily involved in almost every aspect of running the club.