The Jerusalem Magistrate's Court sentenced for three years a Hapoel Jerusalem fan who was caught throwing a lighter at referee Amit Balak during a semi-final series between Hapoel Jerusalem and Hapoel Tel Aviv.
The fan who confessed to the act and expressed remorse and apology was banned from the Reds games for three years according to the referee's decision. In his ruling, the judge wrote: "I would like to conclude this decision with an expression of hope that sports fans, wherever they are, will show respect to each other, towards the players and other representatives of the clubs, and towards any official, junior or senior. Respecting the opposing team and its fans, and certainly towards various officials, including the match referee, will make the experience of sporting events in the various stadiums positive, cultural and inviting and will contribute to the sporting atmosphere in the stadiums."
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"All fans should channel their emotions and desire to win into positive causes: singing, cheering, rejoicing and also being sad and disappointed but by no means violent. It is unacceptable for a basketball referee to be forced to return home after a basketball game with a bruised forehead and pain. That's not how they are encouraged."
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