UAE's Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa purchases 50% of Beitar Jerusalem FC

The sheikh's son, Mohamed, will be the family's representative in Beitar's management and is expected to visit Israel in the coming weeks.

BEITAR JERUSALEM players celebrate with Eliran Atar (center) after the forward scored on a 26th-minute penalty in his first match with the club to help the yellow-and-black beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 last night in Israel Premier League action at Teddy Stadium (photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
BEITAR JERUSALEM players celebrate with Eliran Atar (center) after the forward scored on a 26th-minute penalty in his first match with the club to help the yellow-and-black beat Maccabi Haifa 2-0 last night in Israel Premier League action at Teddy Stadium
(photo credit: BERNEY ARDOV)
Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the United Arab Emirates’ royal family has officially completed a purchase of 50% of the Israeli soccer team Beitar Jerusalem for NIS 300 million, the club announced on Monday afternoon.
Beitar Jerusalem, a team that has been mired for decades in controversy due to never having had an Arab player in their ranks along with their allegedly racist fans, will now have an Arab as their owner. However, the injection of much-needed funds into the club may be able to take the team and possibly the entire league into a new chapter of prosperity and success.
The move comes on the heels of the Israel-United Arab Emirates normalization agreement, which has seen the borders of the UAE open to Israeli businesses, including the sports sector.
“On the eve of Hanukkah, Beitar’s menorah is lit in a new and exciting light,” stated Moshe Hogeg following the signing of the agreement. “Together, we all march the club to new days of coexistence, achievements and brotherhood for the sake of our club, community and Israeli sports.”
The funds will be used primarily for infrastructure investment, growing the youth academy as well as acquiring players for future development. A brand-new board of directors will be established and will include the sheikh’s son, Mohamed bin Hamad bin Khalifa, who will be his representative in everything related to the club.
Al Nahyan shared Hogeg’s enthusiasm, saying that “I am thrilled to be a partner in such a glorious club that I have heard so much of and in such a great city, the capital of Israel and one of the holiest cities in the world. I have heard a lot about the change taking place in the club and the way things are going, and I am happy to take part in that. We will put together a team that will strive for the highest and greatest accomplishments possible, out of a desire to see Beitar Jerusalem reach the biggest stages there are in soccer. Yalla Beitar!”
Jewish-Emirati businessman Naum Koen, chairman of the NY Koen Group, negotiated the deal between the sheikh and Beitar Jerusalem.
"This is a very exciting moment,” he said.
“We already see today how peace between leaders seeps in and is translated into real peace between two nations. This deal is going to promote Beitar Jerusalem in the European arena, making it a club that will compete with the best teams in the world.”
“Since signing the agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, we have been involved in a number of negotiations between Israeli companies and businesses in the UAE. We hope that today’s signing will give a boost to encourage many more businesses agreements between the two countries,” added Koen.
The Israel Football Association chairman Oren Hasson also congratulated Beitar Jerusalem and owner Moshe Hogeg on the achievement that will see borders being further broken down with the Arab world, “This deal shows that football can be a wonderful bridge between people and promote coexistence. This is great news for Beitar and its fans that will guarantee a promising future for the club in the upcoming years.”
Idan Zonshine contributed to this report.