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Jerusalem Soccer Team Fined for Racism by Fans

Israel’s popular Beitar soccer team has been fined 50,000 shekels (about $13,500) for the racist behavior of its fans at last Saturday’s match during which the Jerusalem-based team’s supporters chanted against plans to sign two Muslim players from the Russian Premier League. In addition to the monetary penalty, the Israel Football Association’s disciplinary tribunal ordered a section of the stands closed for the next five games. The atmosphere was tense at the capital’s Teddy Stadium on Tuesday, when Beitar faced-off against the team from Umm Al-Fahm, an Arab village in the north of the country. Police escorted the visiting players and despite some scuffles and the arrests of Umm Al-Fahm fans flying Palestinian flags, the evening passed peacefully. A petition by Beitar officials to ban fifty fans considered to be known for prior racist behavior was granted by the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court.