A soccer fan who attacked a player on the field in the middle of a match in Tel Aviv between city rival Hapoel and Maccabi in November, sparking a brawl between spectators, stadium security and players, pleaded guilty on Wednesday to all counts attributed to him.
Elroy Yadi was charged by Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court judge Shamai Becker with several counts, including assault, disorderly behavior in public, and violently resisting arrest. Yadi’s confession came after months of pleading innocence.
Following his admission, Yadi’s case will be immediately transferred to Haifa’s Magistrate Court, where he is facing unrelated criminal charges, for which he was sentenced to six months of community service.
The fan’s attorney hopes transferring the case to Haifa and merging the verdicts will reduce the sentence, though such an outcome is not guaranteed, Ynet reported. The case’s transferal nullifies his previous community service sentence.
In November, a shirtless Yadi attacked Zehavi on the field at the crosstown rivalry match, sparking a melee and ultimately forcing the game to a premature end.
Twelve people were arrested following the on-field fracas, including Yadi and the son of Hadash MK Dov Khenin.
The scuffle began in the 33rd minute of the match, as Yadi ran onto the field and began hitting and kicking Zahavi. The two men exchanged blows for several moments before security dragged the fan away.
The referee, acting according to the rules of the game that prohibit players from being involved in violence on the pitch, then issued Zahavi a red card, sparking a further outburst from players and fans.
As Zahavi argued the call, a number of fans ran onto the field and began exchanging blows, prompting officials to call off the game.
Following the incident, The Israel Football Association penalized the two Tel Aviv soccer teams, deducting two league points for each team and ordering the temporary shuttering of bleachers at the Bloomfield Stadium that is home to both clubs.
Hapoel Tel Aviv’s management announced that it had permanently banned Yadi and called on police to prosecute him.