Barkat leaves Beer Sheva with regrets

Hapoel Beer Sheva owner Alona Barkat has left the club. She transferred ownership to a trustee after the players refused her proposal to take a 30 per cent pay cut for the next 15 months due to the Coronavirus crisis.


“This is a sad day for me,” she said. “I did my best to put together an emergency plan to save the club in the present crisis but the players’ lack of willing to cooperate with management left me no option.”

Several days after her abrupt departure, the players agreed to a 50 per cent pay cut for April and May and they are open to further cuts. Sources close to Barkat say that she was devastated by the attitude of the squad and is unlikely to return to the club despite the new pay cut agreement.

One player said: “Alona thinks of herself as the mother of the players and mothers can forgive. Mothers understand that the players were very emotional and it wasn’t a good time to judge us.”

Barkat, who is married to the brother of former Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, bought the club in 2007 when it was mid-table in the second tier and led Hapoel to promotion and then a hat-trick of Ligat Ha’Al titles between 2016 and 2018.

Israel’s leagues have been suspended until mid-May.

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