CELTIC’S £5.75million misfit Eyal Berkovic has been caught up in a dramatic threat of a player revolt.
And that has led to the midfielder, who was brought to the Hoops for a-then club record fee by flop boss John Barnes from West Ham in the summer of 1999, withdrawing his bid to become manager of the Israeli international team.
Berkovic was poised to take over his nation in time for the forthcoming Euro 2021 play-off semi-final against Steve Clarke’s Scotland side. He was regarded as favourite to replace Andreas Herzog.
The controversial fromer playmaker, who was sold by Martin O’Neill for a bargain £1.5million to Manchester City in July 2001, created a furore two years ago in his homeland when he branded Israel’s Arab politicians as “terrorists and spies”.
Berkovic, who also had a loan spell at Blackburn Rovers during his ill-starred stay in Glasgow, hosted a TV show at the time, but it was immediately suspended in the wake of his sensational comments.
Now a group of Israel’s Arab players have written to their FA to declare they would refuse to play for their country if Berkovic gets the manager’s position.
The ex-Hoops player has now decided to withdraw. According to a report in the Daily Record, he said: “I have told the committee I no longer wish to be considered for the post.”
The position now appears to be a straight contest between Hapoel Be’er Sheva boss Yossi Aboxis and Beitar Jerusalem head coach Ronny Levy.