Multiple fire trucks were dispatched to Hapoel Tel Aviv’s training facility in south Tel Aviv early Sunday morning after the venue was engulfed in flames in what is being investigated by police as arson.
Last week, Hapoel Tel Aviv – whose fan base has historically skewed left politically – was sold to an American group of investors after a subpar decade or so of on-field results.
Located near the Wolfson Hospital, the “Khodorov” soccer complex sustained what the club called “enormous damage” and requested that supporters stay away from the location out of fears that the structural integrity of the buildings may be compromised.
The incident – which led to club CEO Liran Mohtar being called at 3 a.m. on Sunday – came just hours before Hapoel Tel Aviv was set to kick off against Beitar Jerusalem in a Premier League match in the capital.
While Hapoel officials initially asked the league to postpone the contest, the game took place as scheduled, with Beitar offering assistance to its opponent to help with game-day operations.
“We call on the supporters of both teams to respect the fans and players,” noted the league statement.
Culture and Sport Minister Miki Zohar attended the duel on Sunday night at Teddy Stadium.
“We will not tolerate violence in sports in any form. We must strengthen the security forces for tonight’s game,” said Zohar.
In the game, Hapoel Tel Aviv beat host Beitar 3-1.