Oh Lord, he scored, let me buy him a Mercedes-Benz
A BRITISH businessman has launched a petition to help him fulfil his pledge to give a car to the Israeli footballer who lifted England’s Euro 2008 hopes.
Fred Done, the Salford-born owner of 256 betting shops, promised to give a £50,000 Mercedes to whoever scored the winning goal in Israel’s clash with Russia on Saturday.
But the Israeli Football Association has told striker Omer Golan that he cannot accept a gift as it is deemed beyond the bounds of sportsmanship.
Now Mr Done is determined to get the car to him, setting up a petition on his company’s website, betfred.com, under the heading “Sign up, if you love Omer”.
Mr Done said: “Omer Golan should be driving around in his brand-new car. However, the Israeli FA have said that he cannot accept it as they deem it to be illegal and unethical.
“Is this any way to treat England’s latest hero? ”
IFA spokesman Moshe Avivi said: “He can’t have the car because we have a new rule that only our FA can give presents to players of the national team.”
In 1996, Israel beat Bulgaria 2-1 in a World Cup qualifier at Ramat Gan.
An Austrian Jewish businessman walked into the changing-room after the game and handed the then captain Tal Banin an envelope with the equivalent of £10,000 to share with the team. The Israel FA made Banin return it, ruling that payments from third parties were not permissible.
Omer Golan, who plays for Maccabi Petah Tikva, had already been joking that team-mate Elyaniv Barda, who scored the team’s first goal, would be his driver and was reportedly going to give the car to his father as a present.
Mr Barda was also said to have been promised tickets for a Barbra Streisand concert if he scored. The IFA again objected.
However, the Israel FA might have done Mr Golan a favour. Once the Mercedes entered the country, he would have to pay 84 per cent purchase tax and 15.5 per cent VAT.
Mr Golan said: “It’s a bit of a shame, but that’s regulations. As far as I’m concerned, the most important thing is the winning goal I scored.”
A common goal: Israel and England fans at a Zionist Federation screening last Saturday night in North London