Beitar Jerusalem Fans Celebrate Too SoonBy: Daryl | April 14th, 2008
You can definitely celebrate too soon. Even if, like Beitar Jerusalem, you’re the runaway leaders of the Israeli Premier division. Here’s what happened: Beitar were 1-0 up against Maccabi Herzliya with four minutes until the final whistle. The win would put them 15 points clear with five games to go. So, with the title more or less in the bag, Beitar fans invaded the pitch to celebrate back to back titles.
But what Beitar fans forgot was that football matches aren’t 86 minutes long. They’re 90 minutes. And so referee Alon Yeffet had to abandon the game.
“We waited a reasonable amount of time, some 20 minutes, to re-start the match,” Yeffet told Israeli television.
“The pitch was almost cleared when we went out to review the situation but the fans began spilling onto the pitch again and there was no point waiting any longer.”
So now instead of a nice shiny league title trophy, Beitar Jerusalem will face a Israeli Football Association tribunal instead.
There’s a good chance they’ll still win the league, but Beitar’s billionaire owner Arcadi Gaydamak made it pretty clear how he felt about those who’d ruined what should have been a victorious day: “The fans that went wild yesterday are bastards,” he said. “And I have no respect for them.”
Harsh words, but certain Beitar fans probably deserve it. They’ve got a bit of a dodgy track record, already being reprimanded for racially abusing PAOK FC players and Glasgow Rangers’ Rod Wallace in the past and also booing their way through an intended minute’s silence for assassinated Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin back in 2007.
Maybe seeing their idiocy (even when not racially or politically motivated) have a negative impact on the team they support might teach them a lesson, but something tells me it probably won’t.