Beitar Jerusalem to become fan-owned, deal struck with troubled owner

Beiter Jerusalem owner Moshe Hogeg and the soccer club's supporters' trust have reached an agreement for the sale of the club in crisis.

 Fans of Beitar Jerusalem shout slogans during a match against Bnei Sakhnin as part of the Israeli Premier League, at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem February 10, 2013  (photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)
Fans of Beitar Jerusalem shout slogans during a match against Bnei Sakhnin as part of the Israeli Premier League, at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem February 10, 2013
(photo credit: REUTERS/NIR ELIAS)

The Beitar Jerusalem supporters' trust has reached an agreement for the purchase of the club, potentially ending a period of turmoil and uncertainty under owner Moshe Hogeg, who is under investigation for fraud and sexual offenses.

The deal between Hogeg and the supporters' trust means the latter has to raise some 12 NIS million to conclude the sale, settle debt arrangements, reduce the club's deficit and set a budget for player additions in the upcoming summer, Israeli media reported.

As of Sunday, the trust had only raised some NIS 650,000, as per reports.

Hogeg was arrested in November for committing fraud using cryptocurrencies and for sexual offenses. According to Israeli media, Hogeg and six other businessmen committed fraud by tricking entrepreneurs into investing in cryptocurrency ventures that had been opened by Hogeg.

Hogeg's failed attempts to sell

Hogeg has been desperately trying to offload the club since before his arrest. In September, he transferred all day-to-day responsibilities of the club to attorney Itzhak Yunger and began looking for buyers.

 Beitar Jerusalem FC owner Moshe Hogeg arrives for the club's training session in Jerusalem December 11, 2020  (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS) Beitar Jerusalem FC owner Moshe Hogeg arrives for the club's training session in Jerusalem December 11, 2020 (credit: RONEN ZVULUN/REUTERS)

Hogeg was in talks with French multimillionaire Stephane Melloul to purchase the club in January. The deal, which reached the stage of the signing of a memorandum of understanding, was canceled after reports of Melloul's business practices came to light. Hogeg was also said to be negotiating with potential British and American buyers.

Instead, it now looks as if the supporters' trust will seek to purchase the soccer club. In a statement, the trust said the ownership of Beitar will transfer to its supporters in two weeks' time, "subject to raising funds and completing due diligence."