“What happened yesterday was a blow to the culture of sport in Israel, but even more, a blow to the honor of the country and Israeli society,” he said at the ceremony. “This is not the first time this year that we have met this violence on our fields, and today it is difficult to dispute that this is an emergency situation.” The president also urged those involved in Israeli soccer to work to “eradicate this sick evil from the fields.” He said violence in sports has long been a long-term problem and “the fact that we have not yet paid in human life is a miracle that should not be trusted.”
He added in a Twitter post after the event: “I call for urgent and operative discussions, led by the Ministry of Culture and Sports and the [Israel] Football Association, and with the participation of all the relevant parties, and to begin the necessary work of curtailment against the wave of violence in sports that threatens us all. I expect that we will score the right goal, and that we will win – together!”
After the ceremony, Herzog posed for photos with the trophy and Beitar Jerusalem players, who were joined on stage by the team’s owner Barak Abramov and Jerusalem Mayor Moshe Lion. Abramov took the stage during the event and apologized to Herzog for the actions of Beitar Jerusalem fans at Tuesday night’s game. He said he was “embarrassed” by the chaos that unfolded that evening and added, “I promise to do what I can, as head of Beitar Jerusalem, so that something like that won’t happen again.”
Reportedly 18 people were arrested on various charges after hundreds of Beitar Jerusalem fans rushed onto the field, burned pieces of the soccer nets in the goals, to take pieces home with them, and stole medals meant for the athletes.The rules of the Israel Football Association governing body calls for a championship to be stripped if fans run onto the field but it has not been announced yet what disciplinary measures will be taken against Beitar Jerusalem.