Arab-Israeli-owned football club sold off amid sex abuse scandal

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Beitar Jerusalem suspended its plans to sell a fifty per cent stake of the club to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan in February 2021. The decision followed an investigation by Israel’s football association which found a “significant gap” between his declared wealth and his financial assets.

In an interview with The Telegraph in 2020, Mr Hogeg was brimming with optimism about the proposed sale and how it could improve the club’s reputation.

“When I spoke with Sheikh Hamad, I saw first of all a person who was very intelligent, but who also shared my ideology of co-existence and of being brave,” he said at the time.

“If we do it in the right way, if we succeed, I think we can inspire a lot of people worldwide.”

Beitar is home to the infamous far-Right hooligan squad La Familia, which is known to chant “death to Arabs” during matches, as well as “here we are, the most racist football team in the country.”

The club has never fielded an Arab player, even though the Arab community makes up 20 percent of Israel’s population – a trend that Mr Hogeg and Sheikh Hamad had vowed to put right when they were poised to become co-owners in 2020.

According to Infos-Israel, a French-language Israeli affairs website, some football fans had a lukewarm reaction to news of Mr Malul taking over, as few had heard of him.

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