Betar to pay the penalty for misbehaving fans

By Simon Griver, April 25, 2008

Betar Jerusalem have been handed the severest of punishments by the Israel FA after fans invaded the pitch during their match against Maccabi Herzliya on April 13.

They were leading 1-0 when the match was abandoned after 86 minutes after fans poured on to the pitch to celebrate what they thought was their team clinching a second successive championship.

Herzliya have been handed a 2-0 technical victory, while Betar have been docked two additional points, four more points off next season and ordered to play their next four home games behind closed doors.

Betar owner Arkady Gaydamak said: “The Israel FA disciplinary committee is competing with our fans to see who is more irresponsible.” Betar has lodged an appeal.

The problem with the ruling is that while it punishes Betar, it rewards Herzliya and thus also punishes their relegation rivals.

“The FA Disciplinary Committee are in effect deciding who goes down and who stays up,” said Moshe Dameo, CEO of bottom club Bnei Yehuda, who would have been only three points behind Herzliya. The points awarded to Herzliya has lifted them five points clear of second from bottom, Ashdod, and six clear of Bnei Yehuda in the two relegation places. Following the penalty, Betar remain 10 points clear with five games remaining.

Last updated: 5:33pm, May 13 2008