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Beitar Jerusalem owner Hogeg leaves soccer team, citing opprobrium of racist fanbase

Moshe Hogeg, Israeli businessman and Beitar Jerusalem owner, seen at the team's training ground in Jerusalem on June 25, 2019. (Flash90)
Moshe Hogeg, Israeli businessman and Beitar Jerusalem owner, seen at the team's training ground in Jerusalem on June 25, 2019. (Flash90)

Businessman Moshe Hogeg makes a surprise announcement that he is selling Beitar Jerusalem, one of Israel’s most famous soccer teams, three years after he bought the club and after a tumultuous time as owner that saw him confront an anti-Arab fanbase and try — and fail — to sell half of it to an Emirati businessman.

In a statement, Hogeg says that after consulting his family during the Rosh Hashanah festival he has decided to immediately leave Beitar and appoint lawyer Itzhak Yunger as a temporary trustee, citing the racist La Familia fan group as the reason.

“Beitar Jerusalem isn’t a business,” he writes. “I and others before me have donated a lot of money to this club for its community. I have never asked for a medal or even a small thank-you. But on the other hand, with all due respect, it is unacceptable for me to donate massive sums every month, almost NIS 120 million ($37.5 million), and that when I enter the stadium to hear nonstop curses against me, my wife and even my children.

“I was never deterred by La Familia. I fought racism and violence without fear, I brought in a Muslim player and never gave up, even today,” he says. “This struggle isn’t stopping and will continue after me.”

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