Khatib out of hospital in aftermath of ugly brawl

Two men suspected of assaulting the Hapoel Haifa midfielder remanded into custody for another day.

By
April 2, 2012 05:45
2 minute read.
Ali Khatib at Rabin Medical Center after soccer br

Ali Khatib at Rabin Medical Center after soccer brawl 370. (photo credit: Hapoel Haifa website)

 
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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.

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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 Monday.

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.

Preda, 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 Arel.

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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.

Saturday’s 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 relegation.

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.

“As IFA chairman I strongly condemn the violence,” Luzon said on Sunday.

“It is 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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