Beitar punished for racist chants

JERUSALEM - Israeli Premier League strugglers Beitar Jerusalem were docked a point on Tuesday by a football association disciplinary court because of racist chanting by some of their supporters.

The court found that fans had shouted racist slogans at two league fixtures earlier this season, against Hapoel Tel Aviv and Hapoel Ramat Gan. It also imposed a fine and a further suspended two-point deduction for any future offences.

Beitar are the club with the worst disciplinary record in Israel's Premier League. Since 2005 they have faced more than 20 hearings and have received various punishments, including points deductions, fines and matches behind closed doors.

Beitar were Israel's richest club until three seasons ago when their main financial backer, Russian-born billionaire Arkady Gaydamak stopped most of his funding. They lie in 11th place in the 16-team division with 31 points from 27 games.

The club are the only one among the leading outfits never to have signed an Israeli-Arab player because of fan pressure.