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Beitar Jerusalem soccer club pursues talks with Emirati investor

Owner of Beitar Jerusalem soccer club Moshe Hogeg is determined to ignore threats by La Familia fan club against partnering with an Emirati investor.
Beitar Jerusalem fans cheer on their team prior to the UEFA Europa League play-off football match between Beitar Jerusalem and AS Saint-Etienne, at the Itztadion Teddy Stadium in Jerusalem on August 17, 2016. 
Saint-Etienne beat Beitar Jerusalem 2-1. / AFP / AHMAD GHARABLI        (Photo credit should read AHMAD GHARABLI/AFP via Getty Images)

Israel’s Beitar Jerusalem soccer fan club has been struggling for some time against a small core group of racist, violent fans. Over the years, these fans have been fighting efforts to bring Arab or Muslim players into the club. Businessman Moshe Hogeg, who acquired the club two years ago, decided to ramp up the struggle against the racists, most of whom belong to an organized group called La Familia. In June 2019, Al-Monitor reported that Hogeg signed up a player from Niger called Ali Mohamed. This process met fierce opposition from La Familia, but Hogeg was adamant, and Beitar’s first Mohamed was well absorbed in the group and became a central player in the team.

However, that was not the end of the story. Following the normalization agreements between Israel and the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain, connections were made between entities in the sports and business world. The most interesting imminent deal is the one discussed with an Abu Dhabi investor, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of Abu Dhabi's ruling family, to acquire some of the ownership of Beitar Jerusalem. Khalifa's investment company is active in the sports sphere in other places around the world.

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