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Beitar partnership with Emirati royal has 'turned fans against the club', far-right supporters say Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff

Beitar partnership with Emirati royal has 'turned fans against the club', far-right supporters say

Supporters, known as “La Familia”, were accused of chanting "f**k bin Khalifa".

Date of publication: 28 December, 2020

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The deal with the UAE businessman "threatens the Jewishness of the club", fanatics claim.
Israeli football team Beitar Jerusalem is facing a crisis after signing a partnership deal with Abu Dhabi's ruling family, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a report suggests. 

Hardcore fans of the club, notorious for anti-Arab and Islamophobic slogans, are now chanting against the Sheikh who owns 50% of the club.

"The deal has turned many fans against the club," loyal Beitar fan, Moar Ifrach, was quoted by The Guardian as saying.

Ifrach said he supports the deal, which can bring in Gulf money to boost the club's budget, but feels the far-right club supporters will "never accept it".

"The reputation for racism did not come from nowhere," he told The Guardian.

A week earlier, far-right supporters – known as "La Familia" – spray-painted anti-Arab slogans on the walls of the stadium. The police reportedly arrested four people over the incident.

Some members of La Familia claim the recent deal poses a threat to the "Jewishness" of both the football league and the city of Jerusalem – the east of which was illegally occupuied by Israel in a war with neighbouring Arab countries in 1967.

Read also: Racism at PSG-Istanbul Basaksehir match sees players walk off pitch

The deal was announced earlier in December by Beitar, one of Israel's leading football clubs. The purchase also includs a commitment to invest over 300 million shekels (around $92 million) in the club over the next ten years.

The business deal came just months after the two countries normalised relations in a controversial US-brokered agreement.

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