US businessman buys Beitar Jerusalem

By Jessica Elgot and Simon Griver, July 15, 2011
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Beitar Jerusalem fans are known for their troublemaking

Beitar Jerusalem fans are known for their troublemaking

Israel’s most controversial football club has been sold to two American businessmen, one of whom is well known for his left-wing activism.

Dan Adler and Adam Levin bought Beitar Jerusalem from Arkady Gaydamak in London yesterday. The California businessmen were in the UK to buy several British high-tech companies.

The new owners are not believed to have paid Mr Gaydam for the club, but will pay creditors around £248,000. They are expected to invest around £1.8m in the club, more if they intend to buy players. The deal saves the troubled club from going into administration.

Mr Adler is a prominent left - wing Jewish voice, speaking out in favour of a Palestinian state, as well as being a member of the American Jewish Committee’s national board of governors. He was a former Democrat ic candidate for one of California’s congressional districts but received less than 0.5 per cent of the vote. He is the founder and principal of Media Eagles, a strategy advice firm for Hollywood clients.

Mr Levin is chief executive of Criterion Capital Partners, which owns the social network ing site, Bebo.

Although improvements have been noticed in recent years, Beitar fans are known for their intolerance of Arab players and their racist chanting.

They are the only one of Israel's leading football clubs never to have signed an Arab-Israeli player, because of pressure from fans.

A spokesman for the extreme Beitar "Familia" fan group said they welcomed Mr Adler and Mr Levin to the club — just as long as buying an Arab player was not on the agenda.

Last updated: 2:59pm, July 15 2011