Egypt Independent

UAE owner of Israeli club says ‘door open’ to Arab players



JERUSALEM (AP) — The Emirati businessman who has bought a stake in the controversial Israeli soccer club Beitar Jerusalem said on Tuesday that “the door is open” to adding Arab players to its roster.

Beitar has gained notoriety for a small core of hardcore fans known for shouting racist epithets. It is the only major Israeli club never to have had an Arab player.

Asked about his plans for the team, Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, told a news conference that “the door is open” to all players, regardless of of their religion or background. He says he wants to set an example that Jews and Muslims can work together.

The team announced on Monday that Al Nahyan had bought a 50 percent stake in the club and pledged to invest some $90 million in the coming decade.

By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

IMAGE: Beitar Jerusalem FC soccer team practices in Jerusalem, Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020, a day after the club announced that Emirati Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al Nahyan, a member of the Abu Dhabi ruling family, has purchased a 50 percent stake in the team. (AP Photo/Maya Alleruzzo)