Gumar Aguiar press conference 248.88.
(photo credit: Jeremy Last)
Betar Jerusalem was finally able to focus on playing soccer rather than on its financial difficulties on Monday after sponsor Guma Aguiar transferred $4 million to the Israel Football Association's Budget Control Authority on behalf of the club.
Betar was heading towards bankruptcy administration last month, but a last-minute solution was found after club owner Arkadi Gaydamak agreed to relinquish control and allow Aguiar to fund the club.
The team celebrated the good news with a 3-1 victory over Maccabi Netanya in its Toto Cup opener later Monday evening.
"After a long summer we are happy that the club's budget for the 2009/10 season will be approved," Betar chairman Itzik Kornfein said.
"I would like to thank Mr. Guma Aguiar for the support he has given the club. Our goal over the past four months has been to find a solution which will allow Betar to continue to be a leading team in the league."
Aguiar was on hand to watch Betar's Toto Cup win over Maccabi Netanya in Rishon Lezion, where Jerusalem is hosting its matches while the pitch at Teddy Stadium is being resurfaced.
Idan Tal gave Betar the lead in the 30th minute when his left-footed shot took a slight deflection on its way to the back of the net. Alon Weisberg tied the score in the 53rd minute, but Betar claimed a deserved victory after Barak Itzhaki scored 10 minutes later and Hen Azriel wrapped up the win three minutes from time.
Also Monday, three Betar players (Aviram Bruchian, Barak Itzhaki, Amit Ben-Shushan) were named in the Israel squad for next Wednesday's friendly match against Northern Ireland in Belfast.
The national team will leave Israel for a training camp in London on Friday before flying on to Belfast on Monday.
Israel is currently in fourth position in Group 2 with nine points from six matches and will host Latvia and Luxembourg in its next 2010 World Cup qualifiers next month.