Local Soccer: Gaydamak decides to fund Betar

"Mr. Gaydamak has decided to continue and support the club so it will not go into liquidation."

Arkady Gaydamak serious 248.88 (photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Arkady Gaydamak serious 248.88
(photo credit: Ariel Jerozolimski [file])
Arkadi Gaydamak announced on Thursday that, after a summer of uncertainty, he has finally decided to continue to bankroll Betar Jerusalem for the coming season. The club seemed to be heading towards bankruptcy after Gaydamak failed to offload Betar to several interested parties, with 31-year-old Jewish millionaire Guma Aguiar seemingly the closest to purchasing the club from the oligarch, who has been living in Moscow in recent months. "Mr. Gaydamak has decided to continue and support the club so it will not go into liquidation, which would have hurt Betar and its fans," a club statement read. "Mr. Gaydamak is ready to do so after hearing of the players' commitment to the club and of their willingness to take a significant pay-cut." Gaydamak is expected to invest between $2 million and $3m. dollars in the club and called on Aguiar to match that sum to ensure Jerusalem will once more have one of the biggest budgets in the league. "Mr. Gaydamak is calling on Mr. Guma Aguiar, who has said several times that he is willing to back the club financially, to move from words to actions and join the effort to save the club." Aguiar was his usual indignant self when informed of Gaydamak's comments by The Jerusalem Post, saying that he had not been aware of the challenge. "I haven't heard anything about this," Aguiar said by phone from the US on Thursday evening, before adding that he had not made any definite decision but was not sure he was prepared to work in partnership with Gaydamak. "Let him do it. If he's going to talk like that let him do it... if he is trying to call me out and trying to act like Guma's not puting in money unless I'm puting money," Aguiar said. In other Betar Jerusalem news, striker Amit Ben-Shushan agreed to a plea bargain with the Israel Football Association disciplinary court, admitting to making racist remarks during his club's State Cup celebrations last month. Ben-Shushan was caught on camera singing racist songs with Betar fans at Teddy Stadium following the team's 2-1 victory in the cup final over Maccabi Haifa. The 24-year-old apologized for his behavior, but IFA prosecutor Shalom Eben-Ezra decided nevertheless to press charges and Ben-Shushan was sentenced to 20 hours of lecturing Jewish and Arab youth on racism and violence. "I made a mistake and I apologized," said Ben-Shushan, who will be suspended for 10 matches if he's found guilty of a similar offense in the next two years. "I'm not thinking about this anymore. I hope this episode is behind me." Jeremy Last contributed to this report.