(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski)
After seven years, Arkadi Gaydamak announced on Sunday that he no longer wants any involvement with Betar Jerusalem.
In a letter sent to the club by his lawyer Israel Shalev, Gaydamak said that he will transfer the ownership of Betar to anyone willing to take on the club’s debts and financial commitments.
It is estimated that Betar owes its creditors approximately NIS 1 million, with the club ending last season with a NIS 6 million loss, which will also need to be covered by the new owner.
“Mr. Gaydamak was proud to be a part of an illustrious club for many years during which he lovingly invested a substantial sum of NIS 378,886,000 which resulted in the team reaching impressive accomplishments, including the winning of two championships, two State Cups and the Toto Cup,” the letter read.
“However, at this time, Mr. Gaydamak can not allocate the needed resources to the team and out of responsibility to the team and its fans he is making room for other investors to take his place.”
Although Gaydamak only made it official on Sunday, the owner has only budgeted the club sporadically over the last three years, leaving chairman Itzik Kornfein with the unenviable task of trying to keep Betar afloat time and again.
Former sponsor Guma Aguiar saved the club from bankruptcy ahead of the 2009/10 season, but seven months later left Israel, with his mental health steadily deteriorating, resulting at one stage in him being forcibly admitted to the Abarbanel Psychiatric Hospital.
Kornfein managed to balance the club’s budget for 2010/11 with the sale of star players and just about did so once more last season after two American businessmen by the names of Dan Adler and Adam Levin bailed out on the club after already coming to an agreement to purchase it from Gaydamak last July.
With other teams already well into their preparations for next season, Kornfein will be desperate to find Betar a new backer as soon as possible, looking to give the club the financial security it desperately desires.