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By ESPN Staff

Sakhnin's closed doors punishment halved

JERUSALEM, Jan 18 (Reuters) - Israeli premier league club Bnei Sakhnin had a spectator ban at their home ground for crowd violence cut from four games to two on Wednesday.

An Israeli FA (IFA) disciplinary panel, upholding an appeal by the Arab sector club, agreed that the original punishment was too severe.

Sakhnin and Betar Jerusalem were punished last week after rival supporters clashed at the end of a premier league match earlier this month.

'We cannot avoid the fact that the other club, Betar Jerusalem which was also found guilty, received a much lighter punishment compared to the appellant,' Wednesday's verdict said.

Bitter rivals Sakhnin and Betar faced several charges after scores of fans fought a pitched battle when visiting supporters stormed the pitch at the end of a 0-0 draw 10 daqys ago.

Hosts Sakhnin were originally also handed a 50,000 shekels ($10,802.16) fine which was upheld. Betar received a 75,000 shekel fine.

Betar club officials told reporters last week they also felt Sakhnin's punishment was too severe and said that if asked, they would support the appeal.

Betar are third in the 12-strong premier league with 30 points. Sakhnin are 10th on 15 points.