Israeli Soccer Players Attacked by Fans in Bulgaria

CSKA Sofia fans storm onto field, chase players from the Israeli club Ashdod.

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Nitsan Keidar,

Soccer (illustration)
Soccer (illustration)
Flash 90

For the second time in just a few weeks, a soccer match involving an Israeli team in Europe turned violent on Sunday.

In the latest incident, players from the Israeli club Ashdod were chased from the field by fans during a friendly against Bulgarian side CSKA Sofia, SI.com reported.

The incident occurred in the first minute of stoppage time with Ashdod leading 1–0. After a hard tackle by an Ashdod player resulted in a red card, bottles rained down from the stands and dozens of CSKA fans ran onto the field, according to the sports news website.

The fans began to run after the visiting players, who fled into an empty portion of the stands. One fan threw what appeared to be a glass bottle and hit an Ashdod player in the head, reported SI.com.

The Bulgarian site Sportal.bg reported the fans were upset with the physical nature of Ashdod’s play. The foul immediately preceding the violence was the third red card of the match for Ashdod.

CSKA supporters, particularly the group known as “Sector G,” are well known for being violent at times.

In mid July, fans of the Belgian Charleroi team taunted Beitar Jerusalem fans at a game in Belgium, with Nazi salutes and anti-Semitic and anti-Israeli chants.

Some radical Beitar fans at the game responded by throwing smoke flares onto the pitch. Charleroi's goalkeeper was struck in the head by what Belgium press reports said was a bolt thrown by Beitar fans. Beitar ultimately lost the game, 5-1.

The Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) indicated it would fine Beitar over the behavior of the fans but also ultimately fined Charleroi due to the anti-Semitic nature of its fans’ behavior.

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said following the Charleroi incident he would launch a probe into a the behavior of some of the Beitar fans.

Beitar Jerusalem owner Eli Tabib announced after the Europa League match was halted in Charleroi that he was "ashamed" by the conduct of an "extremist group of fans" and intended to sell the team.








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