Ali Khatib at Rabin Medical Center after soccer brawl 370.
(photo credit: Hapoel Haifa website)
Hapoel Haifa midfielder Ali Khatib was released from The Rabin Medical Center –
Beilinson Campus on Sunday while the two men suspected of assaulting him after
Maccabi Petah Tikva’s 2- 1 victory over Haifa on Saturday were remanded into
custody for another day.
In TV footage of the incident at the Moshava
Stadium in Petah Tikva, Khatib is clearly seen throwing a punch at Maccabi’s
Danny Preda before being headbutted by Petah Tikva goalkeeping coach Ami Genish
and allegedly being kicked while on the ground by Yigal Maman, a Petah Tikva
supporter close to the club’s ownership.
Petah Tikva District Court Judge
Riva Sharon rejected the police’s request to extend Genish and Maman’s remand
for four more days, but decided they should stay under arrest until
Khatib remained in Beilinson overnight for observation after
losing consciousness and was sent home on Sunday morning after a CT scan showed
he suffered no head trauma.
“I can’t remember what happened at the end of
the match,” Khatib said on Sunday. “I didn’t see who hit me. I fell to the
ground and I can’t remember anything since. I’m feeling better, but still
suffering from pain in my teeth, face and head.”
Khatib was also
questioned by police on Sunday regarding his role in the incident after Preda
filed a complaint against him and Haifa teammate Stefan Denkovic.
who scored his team’s winner in the 94th minute, was sent off after the final
whistle for his part in the melee together with Haifa’s Denkovic and Gal
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Petah Tikva is expected to be handed a severe punishment by the
Israel Football Association’s disciplinary court after referee Asaf Keinan
referred to Khatib being head-butted in his report of the match, although he did
not mention the midfielder being kicked while on the ground.
brawl puts the IFA courts in an awkward situation as IFA chairman Avi Luzon used
to run Maccabi Petah Tikva, which is owned by his family, and still attends most
of the club’s matches. He even came to speak to the players during a training
session last week to try and motivate them in their battle against
With Hapoel Tel Aviv being deducted three points for the
violence displayed by its fans in the derby against Maccabi last month, most
experts are expecting the disciplinary court to take points away from Petah
Tikva, a punishment which could determine the club’s fate.
chairman I strongly condemn the violence,” Luzon said on Sunday.
unthinkable that players and management members will display such criminal
violence. They should be an example to the children and youth in Israel
and unfortunately they acted like rascals in front of the TV cameras. Israeli
soccer is tarnished time and again by these incidents and we must do all we can
to eradicate the spread of violence. As I’ve said many times in the
past, as IFA chairman I have never, and will never, intervene in the policy of
the IFA’s prosecutor and the decisions of the court which are completely
independent” he said.
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