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Arson at troubled Jerusalem football club: police

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(Globalpost/GlobalPost)

Arsonists Friday torched the offices of Beitar Jerusalem football club, embroiled in conflict with some of its more racist supporters over the signing of two Muslim footballers from Chechnya, police said.

The attack took place hours after prosecutors on Thursday filed charges against four Beitar supporters accused of racist chants aimed at the Muslim players during a match and at a training session.

"The offices were torched in the early hours of the morning and we have opened an investigation," Jerusalem police spokesman Shmulik Ben Ruby told AFP, adding that no suspects had so far been identified.

Ynet news website said "serious" damage was caused to club memorabilia, including trophies, championship plates and historic team shirts.

Beitar on January 26 announced its acquisition of Zaur Sadaev and Dzhabrail Kadaev, signed from Russian League club Terek Grozny.

The news enraged some of the club's fans, who chanted racist anti-Arab slogans and waved signs reading "Beitar -- pure forever" during a game later that day.

After the match, police arrested three fans for incitement to racism, but Russian-Israeli owner Arkady Gaydamak insisted the signing would go ahead, saying the opposition came from a small minority of supporters.

Beitar Jerusalem have a reputation for attracting a hard core of anti-Arab fans, with many of its supporters adamant the club should never sign an Arab player, even though Muslim footballers have played for Beitar in the past.

scw/bpz

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/afp/130208/arson-at-troubled-jerusalem-football-club-police