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Emirati businessmen to invest in notoriously racist Israeli football team

Israeli football team Beitar Jerusalem has never had an Arab player [Getty]

Date of publication: 11 September, 2020

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Emirati businessmen are intending to invest in racist Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem, following a normalisation of ties between the two countries.
Emirati businessmen are looking to invest in a top-tier Israeli football team known for its racist and Islamophobic fans.

Emirati sources told Israeli news outlet i24News that businessmen from the United Arab Emirates intend to invest in Beitar Jerusalem FC.

A series of meetings between the investors and the owner of the Israeli club Moshe Hogeg will be held in the coming days, the sources revealed.

"If the agreement is finalised, it will be the first Emirati investment in the field of sports in Israel," the sources said.

The investment is made possible after UAE normalised ties with Israel in a US-brokered deal slammed by Palestinians as a "betrayal".

The deal was announced on August 13, with a group of Israeli officials landing in Abu Dhabi two weeks later to discuss cooperation in a variety of fields.
Beitar Jerusalem is the only club in the Israel Premier League to have never signed an Arab player and its fans have become infamous for their 'Death to Arabs' chant.

The most vocal supporters of Beitar Jerusalem are members of the controversial nationalist La Familia group, well known for their opposition to integrating Arabs into the club.

Its current owner Hogeg, who acquired the club in 2018, told the BBC last year he aims to turn this around. 

But the club's infamous reputation persists.

In 2016, a clip of Beitar Jerusalem fans chanting "Muhammad is dead, Muhammad is dead" was broadcast of Israeli television, Arabi 21 reported.

Three years earlier, fans of the Israeli team burned the Qur'an and insulted the Prophet Muhammad after a match with the Palestinian Sakhnin Sons team ended in a goalless draw, according to the news site.

When the club signed two Muslim players from Chechnya in 2013, the move angered some fans, forcing the team to hire bodyguards to protect them.

Agencies contributed to this report.

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