Beitar Jerusalem official quits after saying he’d ‘never sign Muslim player’

Beitar Jerusalem official quits after saying he’d ‘never sign Muslim player’

Eli Cohen leaves role at top Israeli club following controversial remarks which have been branded as being 'racist'

Beitar Jerusalem fans
Beitar Jerusalem fans

Eli Cohen has quit his role as an adviser for Beitar Jerusalem after refusing to apologise for saying he would never sign a Muslim player.

Having just rejoined the club for a fourth time, Cohen told Yedioth Ahronoth that he wouldn’t bring a Muslim player into the club, because he was a ‘realistic person’.

Beitar, one of Israel’s most successful domestic clubs, are the only top-flight side without an Arab-Israeli player in their squad, with their fans notorious for their racist chanting, an example being three years ago when fans burned down the club’s training complex after signing of two Muslim players.

Cohen, who’s latest stint at the club, lasted a mere 10 days, said: “I experienced first-hand what happened when Muslim players came five years ago, and therefore I would not take a Muslim player into Beitar.”

Saying how he had, in the past, had “many Arab and Muslim players in the groups that I trained, from Hadera to Hapoel Tel Aviv and Maccabi Haifa”, he added: “Whoever is stupid and wants to label me as a racist after this can say whatever he wants.”

Reports claimed he had either been fired or resigned, but he later told a TV sports programme: “They’re trying to paint me as a racist. It’s disgusting. I’m broken. I gave up offers from teams such as Bnei Sakhnin and Hapoel Haifa. Everything has exploded in my face.”

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