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May 25, 2023 11:22 am

Herzog Condemns Violence During Beitar Jerusalem Trophy Ceremony; Team Owner Apologizes for ‘Embarrassing’ Behavior by Fans


avatar by Shiryn Ghermezian

Fans of Beitar Jerusalem shout slogans during a match against Bnei Sakhnin as part of the Israeli Premier League, at Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem February 10, 2013. Photo: REUTERS/Nir Elias/File Photo

Israel’s President Isaac Herzog presented the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team the State Cup at his official residence on Wednesday and criticized the violent chaos that ensued on the field at Haifa’s Sammy Ofer stadium the night before when hundreds of rowdy fans stormed the pitch and caused the cancellation of the original trophy ceremony.

Herzog — who was near the stage where Beitar Jerusalem players were to be given the trophy and had to be evacuated off the field surrounded by his security detail — hosted the ceremony on Wednesday that was also live streamed on Facebook. The theme of the event was “condemning and fighting violence in sports.”

Herzog explained at the ceremony, and later in a Twitter thread, that the trophy was supposed to be awarded Tuesday night on the field at a ceremony that would have been “much more joyful” following Beitar Jerusalem’s impressive 3-0 win against Maccabi Netanya for the State Cup. But the “violent dramas” that took place “meant that in a severe and unprecedented manner we could not award the state cup to the team that won on the grass.”

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