Local Soccer: Committee to probe Betar blackout

The early signs are that the floodlights went out due to a fire in the electricity room caused by an electrical malfunction.

Betar blackout 224.88 (photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
Betar blackout 224.88
(photo credit: Asaf Kliger )
A special Examination Committee set-up by the Jerusalem Municipality inspected Teddy Stadium on Monday to try and determine what caused the electricity failure that brought about a blackout seven minutes into Betar Jerusalem's Premier League match against Maccabi Haifa on Sunday. The match was cancelled after 25 minutes by referee Alon Yeffet, who ironically works in his everyday life for the Israel Electric Corporation, after all efforts to light-up the stadium failed. Even though the stadium is the property of the Jerusalem Municipality, Betar might be penalized by the Israel Football Association. The early signs are that the floodlights went out due to a fire in the electricity room caused by an electrical malfunction. However, Jerusalem could be handed a technical loss if the IFA determines that it didn't follow all the regulations regarding the requirement to have a adequate generator on hand should the main electricity source fail. "The IFA has requested to receive all the documents and findings connected with the stoppage of the match between Betar Jerusalem and Maccabi Haifa," an IFA statement read. "Only after we receive and examine all the findings and pass them on to our legal advisor a decision will be made." In the 1993/94 season Maccabi Herzliya was handed a technical loss after a power failure in its stadium during a Premier League match against Tzafririm Holon forced the cancellation of the encounter. The IFA had initially decided that the match be played again, but Holon appealed and was eventually given all three points. Betar apologized on Monday and claimed that it had no control over the happenings. "Betar Jerusalem apologizes to the fans that attended the match between Betar and Maccabi Haifa for the malfunction that was caused in the electricity supply for which we had no control or responsibility," a statement released by the reigning champion read. The club also announced that assuming the match is rescheduled all season ticket holders and any fans with the original ticket stub will be allowed to enter the game. Jerusalem Municipality spokesperson Gidi Shmerling supported Betar's explanation of the events. "We're taking this incident very seriously," Shmerling said. "As we are in charge of Teddy Stadium we have set-up a special Examination Committee to look into the matter. "The Jerusalem Municipality is responsible for what happens in the stadium. Betar leases the stadium from the municipality and holds no responsibility for the malfunction that occurred." Maccabi Haifa, which returned to training on Monday, has yet to officially comment on Sunday's happenings and hasn't said if it plans to demand a technical victory. The team's Brazilian midfielder Gustavo Boccoli said on Monday: "It's a pity the match had to be stopped. There was an excellent atmosphere in the stadium. We will do whatever the IFA decides and if we need to play the match again we will."