"The Beitar Jerusalem soccer club announced the temporary closing of its east stand.
The club’s statement was as follows: 'Beitar Jerusalem is taking an active stance against racism and violence. The club will no longer stand by supporters that tarnish the club’s reputation. The decision was reached after the intolerable behavior of some supporters during last night’s (22.1.18) game against B'nei Sakhnin.
The club has decided to close the east stand indefinitely, starting Thursday during the game with Hapoel Marmuk. The club is considering further measures such as revoking some supporters’ season tickets. In addition, players will be instructed not to take part in the racist activity of specific stands.
It is saddening that even amidst such a wonderful season, (one point off first place), great performances and significant improvement in the crowd’s behavior, the club must attend to such issues that only damage the club's image. Those who behave in such a manner, should not be called Beitar fans.
Furthermore, the club decries the special unit, established by the Ministries of sport and defense, to combat racist and violent behaviors in sports, who did nothing to assist the club despite their mandate to do so. The club feels abandoned and isolated when facing these incidents. The special unit’s complacency was very much felt during the Sakhnin game.'”
– 0404 Page
0202 Editor's Note:
Beitar Jerusalem Football Club is Jerusalem's largest professional football (soccer) club and plays in the Israeli Premiere League. Beitar has become a symbol of Israeli football culture and the Zionist movement, having been supported during its history by diverse Israeli politicians and having established itself as one of the major sports teams in Israel. The club is also infamous for its vocal supporters, who make up the controversial nationalist La Familia group, known for their anti-Arab chants and racially-motivated aggression towards Arabs. The club has been penalized several times for the behavior of its fans.