UEFA goes easy on Beitar Jerusalem punishment

Fans behavior in Belgium results in fine and closer of stand; local soccer begins with Toto Cup

August 2, 2015 04:12
2 minute read.

The behavior of Beitar Jerusalem fans in the Europa League qualifier in Charleroi, Belgium last Thursday has resulted in owner Eli Tabib putting the club up for sale. (photo credit: UDI ZITIAT/BSL,ADI AVISHAI)

Beitar Jerusalem breathed a sigh of relief on Friday after it was handed a relatively lenient punishment by UEFA for the conduct of its fans in a Europa League qualifier in Charleroi, Belgium last month.

UEFA’s Control, Ethics and Disciplinary Body fined Beitar 95,000 euros and ordered the partial closure of the team’s stadium during its next UEFA competition match.

The sector to be closed needs to hold at least 500 seats.

Beitar was charged with racist behavior (banners and chants), improper conduct of supporters (breaking down fences), setting off and throwing of fireworks and objects and an illicit banner.

Nine-man Beitar was thrashed 5-1 in the first leg of the second qualifying round in Charleroi - a match that was held up at the start when fans threw dozens of incendiary devices onto the pitch, enveloping it in smoke. In second half stoppage time, Charleroi goalkeeper Nicolas Penneteau was hit by a hard object thrown from the crowd, which forced another delay.

Charleroi was fined 28,000 euros and had one of its stands closed in last Thursday’s third qualifying round first leg against Zorya of Ukraine after facing three charges: Racist behavior (gestures), setting off and throwing of fireworks and objects and insufficient organization (segregation of spectators).

Beitar players Eliezer Dasa and Pablo de Lucas were both suspended for two matches by UEFA after picking up red cards in the match in Charleroi.

Beitar will return to action on Wednesday when it visits Maccabi Netanya in Toto Cup action.

The first domestic action of the season took place on Saturday, with Maccabi Tel Aviv coming from behind to beat Hapoel Tel Aviv 3-1 at Bloomfield Stadium.

Maccabi coach Slavisa Jokanovic rested several of his starters ahead of Wednesday’s Champions League third qualifying round second leg against Viktoria Plzen and Hapoel took a 49th-minute lead through Iyad Abu Abid. However, substitutes Nosa Igiebor (67), Eran Zahavi (70) and Tal Ben-Haim (80) all scored to clinch the Toto Cup win for the yellow-and-blue, which needed a confidence boost after the 2-1 home defeat to Plzen last week.

“I have to be happy. It was a nice game and we won,” said Jokanovic.

“We made mistakes like against Plzen and we need to be more confident and more serious especially with the game ahead of us.

We must be ready to fight. It is not easy but it is possible.”

In other Toto Cup action, Maccabi Haifa beat Hapoel Haifa 2-1 at Sammy Ofer Stadium. Hapoel’s Tomer Swisa failed to convert a penalty in the 18th minute, but he made up for it by finding the back of the net three minutes into the second half. However, two goals in five minutes saw Maccabi move in front, with Alon Turgeman (67) and Eyal Meshumar (71) scoring for the Greens.

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