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By ESPN Staff

Israeli clubs punished over post match brawl

JERUSALEM Jan 11 (Reuters) - Bnei Sakhnin and Betar Jerusalem were punished by an Israeli FA disciplinary panel on Wednesday following a clash between their supporters after a premier league match at the weekend.

Hosts Sakhnin were handed a 50,000 shekel ($10,790) fine and ordered to play four home matches behind closed doors while Betar received a 75,000 shekel fine from the disciplinary panel.

The hearing at the Israeli FA headquarters in Tel Aviv was secured by a large number of police who had expected a sizeable group of fans to arrive although just a handful attended.

The clubs faced several charges after scores of supporters of bitter rivals Betar and Arab sector club Bnei Sakhnin fought a pitched battle after visiting fans stormed the pitch at the end of a 0-0 draw in the first division match on Sunday.

A number of supporters and police suffered light injuries and a news photographer was hit in the eye by a bottle thrown at him from close range.

It took 350 police more than an hour to restore order.

Betar owner Arkady Gaydamak, whose luxury car was stoned during the fighting, looked stunned as he waited in the visiting team's dressing room. He described events as "not nice".

Gaydamak, whose son Alexandre bought a 50 percent stake in English Premier League club Portsmouth last week, had received a warm welcome at Sakhnin's new 5,000-seat Doha Stadium after donating money to the club's youth development programme.

Betar are third in the 12-strong league with 29 points while Sakhnin are in 10th place on 15 points.