Chechen players head to scandal-hit Israeli club

Moscow, Jan 30 (IANS/RIA Novosti) Two Chechen football players have departed for medical check ups at an Israeli club where reports of their signings led to racist displays, their current team said Wednesday.

Reports that the two Terek Grozny players were to sign for Beitar Jerusalem, the only one of Israel's top clubs to have never fielded an Arab player, led to displays of anti-Muslim sentiment at a match Saturday and calls for Beitar to remain "pure".

Striker Zaur Sadaev, 23, and midfielder Dzhabrail Kadiev, 19, "headed to Israel today to continue their medical examinations and sign contracts with Beitar Jerusalem", Terek said in a website statement.

The two players will be on loan at Beitar until May, Terek added. Neither has managed to hold down a regular first-team place under Stanislav Cherchesov.

Both players played in a friendly between Beitar and Terek earlier this month, after which transfer negotiations began.

Following condemnation from the Israeli FA and leading politicians after the racist displays at Saturday's game against Bnei Yahuda, Beitar were fined 50,000 shekels ($13,400) by the FA and ordered to temporarily shut off the hardcore fans' area at their stadium.

The punishment was reportedly mitigated because the FA said Beitar had begun to act against racist fans.

Beitar has previously signed one Muslim player, Nigerian defender Ibrahim Nadalla, who left soon after his arrival in 2005 after being subjected to a barrage of anti-Muslim and racist chants from the team's fans.

Beitar are fourth in the Israeli league and challenging for a place in European competition next season.

--IANS/RIA Novosti

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