Thousands of supporters of the soccer club rushed the field at Sammy Ofer Stadium in Haifa as the trophy ceremony was about to take place following Beitar Jerusalem’s 3-0 defeat of Maccabi Netanya in the championship match. Herzog had to be evacuated by his security as a chaotic scene unfolded on the grass.
In a statement, Herzog said that fans “blew up the joyous occasion so that the trophy could not be awarded.”
When Beitar wins a title, celebrations traditionally take place at Sacher Park, Jerusalem’s largest. The team and supporters will still gather at the park, but only after the trophy ceremony at the President’s Residence.
A sign will be displayed at the ceremony as the president conditioned hosting of the team on it being an educational event with a clear message condemning violence in sports.
The post-game rioting overshadowed a dominating performance by Beitar Jerusalem that brought Israel’s capital its first State Cup in 14 years and its eighth overall.
After the incident, Beitar owner Barak Abramov threatened to walk away from Israeli soccer if the team was stripped of its title.
“The fans were a great source of pride for us during the game and the ceremony took so long to even begin, over 45 minutes,” he said.
“The security couldn’t control the situation and this was not under our control but that of the Israel Football Association. What happened was an embarrassment and a disgrace, but this cup is ours, no one else’s. If they take the cup away from us I am done with Israeli football,” Abramov said.