JERUSALEM (AP) – Two American businessmen acquired the financially troubled Israeli soccer club Beitar Jerusalem on Thursday.
Beitar said Dan Adler and Adam Levin took control from Russian businessman Arkady Gaydamak, who bought it in 2005. The deal was signed in London following negotiations with the participation of Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, the team added.
Beitar did not release terms, saying only that the pair would ''take on the financial responsibility of the team in order to stabilize the budget and meet its obligations.''
The Israeli sports website One reported the club had debts of about $400,000.
Formed in 1936, Beitar was one of Israel's most popular and most successful teams. It enjoyed its best period under the deep-pocketed Gaydamak, highlighted by league and cup championships in 2008.
But when Gaydamak left the country Aamid financial scandals in Israel and Europe, he cut funding to the team and it fell on hard times. It finished in 11th place this year, narrowly avoiding relegation.
The team has also drawn controversy for its fans, who are notorious for making racist chants and taunting Arab players on opposing teams.
Levin is a managing director of private equity fund Criterion Capital Partners and chief executive of the social media company Bebo. Adler is the founder of Media Eagles, a consulting firm in California.
The team said the two businessmen are longtime supporters of Israel.
''They made an investment in Beitar as a long-term investment, and they see it as a contribution to strengthen Jerusalem and Israel, rather than business investment,'' the club statement said.