Jerusalem – Police arrested a man outside the Friday afternoon practice of the Betar Jerusalem soccer team after the man yelled racist comments at a new Muslim player from Chechnya. The incident is the latest in a series of violent events from a fanatical group of Betar supporters who are furious with the team management for signing two Muslim players from the Chechnyan team Terek Grozny, Dzhabrail Kadiyev and Zaur Sandayev.
On January 26, Beitar fans raised an enormous banner with the words “Betar Pure Forever,” referring to the fact that the team has not been welcoming to Muslim players. Extremist fans have also attacked team security guards and thrown rocks at players’ cars. Last Friday, incidents came to a head when a group of fans torched the management offices in the team’s practice facility in Bayit Vagan, causing extensive damage to the offices and destroying team memorabilia. On Tuesday night police arrested four Betar fans who identify as part of the hardcore fan group La Familia in connection with the arson attack against the team offices.
Sadayev is injured, but Kadiyev played his first game with Beitar on Sunday night, a 2-2 tie against Bnei Sakhnin during a heavily-guarded game with more than 500 police officers and security workers.
Kadiyev attracted many cheers of supports, as well as booing, every time he touched the ball.
“I hope they will understand that this step was taken and there is no way back [to a team without Muslims],” Betar chairman Itzik Kornfein said after the game on Sunday.
“We will continue with [the Chechnyan players], we don’t want to go backwards,” said Kornfein, adding that he had been assigned a security detail following the arson attack.
More than 30 Beitar fans have been arrested over the past three weeks in connection with violent incidents.
Content is provided courtesy of the Jerusalem Post