Arab-Israeli football club sold out over owner’s sexual abuse scandal

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In February 2021, Beitar Jerusalem suspended plans to sell the club’s 50 percent stake to Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan. The decision followed an investigation by the Israeli Football Association, which uncovered a “significant gap” between his declared wealth and his financial assets. .

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

“When I spoke to Sheikh Hamad, I first saw a person who was very intelligent but also shared my ideology of coexistence and courage,” he said at the time.

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

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

The club has never introduced an Arab player, although the Arab community represents 20 percent of the Israeli population – a trend Hogeg and Sheikh Hamad promised to fix when they were ready to become co-owners in 2020.

According to Infos-Israel, the French website for Israeli affairs, some football fans have responded lukewarmly to news of Mr Malul’s takeover, as few have heard of him.

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