betar jerusalem 88.
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The Israeli Football Association on Wednesday said Bnei Sakhnin will be forced to play four home games behind closed doors as punishment for the violence that broke out following its Premier League match against Betar Jerusalem.
Fighting between both sets of supporters, as well as the police and security officials, began after the final whistle at the Doha Stadium in Sakhnin on Sunday night.
The Betar supporters had been allowed onto the pitch after they had complained of stones being thrown at them from outside the stadium.
At the disciplinary hearing, held at IFA headquarters in Ramat Gan, the judges also fined both clubs for their fans' part in the riot that broke out.
Bnei Sakhnin will have to pay a NIS 50,000 fine, while Betar was fined NIS 75,000.
The IFA also placed a conditional punishment on Betar, saying that the Jerusalem team would have to play two games behind closed doors if its fans are involved in any similar incidents this season.
Following the announcement of the IFA decision, Bnei Sakhin chairman Mazen Ghnaim said his club would be appealing. Betar president Vladimir Shklar, however, said the Jerusalem club was willing to accept the IFA ruling.
"The punishment is too harsh," said Bnei Sakhnin coach Lufa Kadosh. "[The judges] went overboard. I think it is easier to punish Sakhnin than Betar. I know we were wrong but it takes two to tango and it takes two to cause such a disturbance."
IFA judge Yisrael Shimoni said that when deciding on the punishment for Bnei Sakhnin the judges had taken into account a number of previous offenses by the club. It was also concluded that it was the Sakhnin supporters who kicked off the violence after they threw stones into the Betar section from outside the stadium.
Shimoni added that in deciding the punishment for Betar, although the judges saw the incidents were serious, they took into account that no officials or players were injured and only found them responsible for damage to the stadium.
The judges also criticized the attempts by the teams to blame the police for the situation.
During the hearing Ghnaim had claimed that before the match it had been decided to allow the Betar fans to leave first and the reversal of that decision had created an opportunity for trouble.
"I don't understand why the police decided to change that decision," he said.
"Ninety-nine percent of the Sakhin fans behaved themselves. It was clear that the Betar fans were the ones that began fighting with the police," he added.
For his part, Shklar told the disciplinary panel that he had seen stones being thrown and that it was his decision to allow the Betar fans on to the pitch. "It may be so that our fans acted irresponsibly but you should remember they were attacked by stones," he said to the judges.
Azulai and Masudigiven bans for fight
In a separate hearing, Maccabi Netanya midfielder Alain Masudi and Upper Nazareth player Ami Azulai were both punished for fighting after their Premier League match on Saturday.
The brawl erupted following the final whistle, after Azulai had harshly tackled Azulai minutes for the end of the game. The pair exchanged blows and other team members became involved.
Azulai was banned for three matches and Masudi was handed a two-match ban. Their clubs were both fined, with Netanya forced to pay NIS 10,000 and Upper Nazareth NIS 5,000.
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