Israeli football club Beitar Jerusalem usually makes the global news for reasons outside the sport – racist fans, refusing to accept the arrival of Muslim players to the club. In their recent match against Maccabi Haifa, it was a comedic incident, involving Avi Rikan, getting his boot stuck under an Electronic billboard, that caught the attention of many.
Weirdly, Rikan made no effort to lift the billboard himself, while the lazy linesman didn’t do a thing to try and help him; neither did Haifa players. Rikan signaled wildly for some assistance before teammate Eran Levy came to the rescue.
In the match itself, Beita Jeruslam, visiting Haifa, lost 4-1, as the team continues to slide since signing two young players from Chechnya in an attempt to break the hold of a certain Ultras group among the fans has over the club, by signing and sticking by two Muslim players. As a result of the tear among players, fans, coach and the ownership, Beitar have won only one point out of the last possible 15.
Maccabi Haifa, with the win, remain in second place, trailing league leaders Maccabi Tel Aviv by 8 points, with two matches left in the regular season before the 14-team league is split into two groups of the top 6 and bottom 8, and 10 more matches will be played in the top 6 group. Beitar, until not too recently still mentioned as a team with an outside shot to challenge for the title, have fallen to 7th place, which will keep them out of the “higher” playoff if they don’t improve in the next two matches.