It's okay to boo at soccer matches in Israel - for nowI trust that many of you recall the incident on November 4 in Haifa in which fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team booed the announcer for announcing that it was twelve years to the day on the Gregorian calendar since Yitzchak Rabin was assassinated. I trust you also recall that a three-judge disciplinary panel of the soccer federation sentenced Beitar to two home games without fans present. Well, surprise.
Israel Radio just reported that the federation's appeals court has thrown out the punishment. The reason: There's nothing in the soccer league's rules and regulations that prohibits fans from booing! Sounds like a great concept, doesn't it? Well, Beitar Jerusalem is off the hook this time because of this little glitch in the rules, but don't worry because the appeals court (I kid you not) has urged the league to fix the rules to make sure that the next time the fans boo Yitzchak Rabin, the team will be punished.
I can't wait to see how they try to define when fans at a soccer game are allowed to boo and when they are not. As a lawyer, I love seeing other people trying to draft those precise definitions that give you certainty of results when something happens.
Yes, the last sentence was sarcastic (I was tempted to write "/sarc" but I was afraid some of you would think I made up the entire story - I didn't). But in all seriousness, those kinds of distinctions are almost impossible to draft, and it is inevitable that someone sometime soon will be convicted of impermissible booing in a manner that no one ever intended. At least it will be politically correct.