Betar broken as new owners back out

Despite assurances that money was on its way, Americans Adler & Levin cut ties to squad.

Adam Levin (left) and Dan Adler 311 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Adam Levin (left) and Dan Adler 311
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger)
Betar Jerusalem was plunged back into crisis on Thursday, after Dan Adler and Adam Levin pulled out of the deal to purchase the club from Arkadi Gaydamak.
It was just two weeks ago that Adler told the Jerusalem Post that “we pride ourselves on being people who do what they say they are going to do. We are jumping into this not because we want to jump in and jump out but because we are making a very long commitment and we believe it is actually not only going to be a long road ahead but an incredibly exciting and promising one.”
However, on Thursday morning the duo sent a letter to Betar claiming that the deal should be renegotiated due to former sponsor Guma Aguiar’s plea to the Jerusalem District Court to delay the takeover last week, an appeal which was rejected on Tuesday.
In fact, following the lifting of the injunction on Tuesday, Adler and Levin said in a press release that “we have already ordered our lawyers to transfer the $400,000 to Gaydamak’s trustee’s account, and we are working with chairman Itzik Kornfein on a respectable budget for the club.”
However, despite promising time and again that the money is on its way, the pair never transferred the $400,000 they said they would, and on Thursday they left Betar in dire straits a mere hours after assuring fans that they had the club’s best interests at heart.
Adler and Levin’s shameless antics leave Kornfein in a race against time to steer the side clear of liquidation and open the upcoming season with a balanced budget.
Kornfein is hoping to raise more than NIS 3.5 million from the sale of striker Hen Azriel to either Maccabi Haifa or Hapoel Tel Aviv, with defenders Moshe Mishaelof and Tomer Ben-Yosef also possibly on their way out of the club.
Kornfein also plans to defer his NIS 900,000 yearly salary until next season and cut the wages of star players Aviram Bruchian and Amit Ben- Shushan.
Following the Americans’ withdrawal, the Israel Football Association’s Budget Control Authority agreed to give Betar an extension to post its budget for the 2011/12 season, something it was supposed to complete by Thursday night.
The sale of players, combined with pay cuts, should ensure Betar survives the sad episode of Adler and Levin and opens the season as planned.
However, the dreams that Jerusalem had fans built around the Americans’ promises were dashed on Thursday, leaving the Betar faithful to come to terms with the harsh reality that the future of their beloved club once more hangs in the balance.