Beitar Jerusalem FC withdraws sale to UAE Sheik Hamad bin Khalifa

The IFA's Transfer Rights Committee says the request was pulled since Bin Khalifa did not issue all the required documents, including a certificate of integrity.

Moshe Hogeg with Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Nahyan (photo credit: BEITAR JERUSALEM/COURTESY)
Moshe Hogeg with Sheikh Hamad Bin Khalifa al-Nahyan
Two months and four days ago, Beitar Jerusalem FC celebrated a historic day: At a press conference in Dubai, Israeli businessman Moshe Hogeg celebrated with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa the sale of 50% of the club's ownership. 
The sheikh's son was to be a senior board member, and the whole world covered the historic deal which stated that the club from Israel's capital, which has long struggled with racism and Islamophobia from fans, will be headed by a person from the United Arab Emirates.
On Thursday however, after a long and tedious process of procrastination, the deal fell through.
The Committee for the Transfer of Rights on behalf of the Israeli Football Association (IFA) announced on Thursday that Beitar Jerusalem had officially withdrawn the request to transfer 50% of the club's ownership to Sheikh bin Khalifa, after the latter did not issue all the required documents, including a certificate of integrity. 
The IFA did say however, that the club could re-apply to approve the deal in the future.
In January, the Rights Transfer Committee announced that Sheikh bin Khalifa had not provided all the documents required to approve the deal, including the Integrity Certificate, which Beitar Jerusalem claimed that those in Abu Dhabi have a difficulty in issuing. 
In addition, even before Beitar Jerusalem requested an extension for the transaction between Hogeg and the sheikh, the Committee for the Transfer of Rights also reportedly intended to invalidate Bin Khalifa's capital statement, which relies on bonds of the Venezuelan government.
As if that was not enough, the IFA also said that the properties that bin Khalifa had declared in Lebanon yielded low rents do not yield the profits described in his capital statement. 
Essentially, the committee suspected that his fortune was actually only worth a few million dollars, and that he did not have the financial capabilities to afford the purchase of the club.
Beitar have so far denied the allegations and a source in the club told Maariv that the club "will return and submit another request."
Another option being considered is turning bin Khalifa into a club sponsor, but it is not certain that the Beitar's board, whose chairman is Sigalit Sage, a member of the Rights Transfer Committee, will approve such a move.
In an official statement after the announcement Beitar Jerusalem wrote "We asked to withdraw the request in order to re-examine the outline of the deal with the sheikh and make a decision on the matter." 
The club continued, writing that "Following a request from the Rights Transfer Committee to obtain several more documents and hoping to proceed with the deal, the club's owners, Moshe Hogeg, intended to take off for Dubai in order to meet with Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa."
The club blamed the withdrawal of the deal on coronavirus restrictions instead, saying "Unfortunately, the sky is still closed and instead of asking for another extension, we preferred to withdraw the current request and submit a new request. The reports that the deal fell through are incorrect."
Translated by Idan Zonshine.