Maccabi Tel Aviv coach Shota Arveladze .
(photo credit: DANNY MARON)
The writing had been on the wall for some time, and on Wednesday it became official. Maccabi Tel Aviv parted ways with coach Shota Arveladze, bringing his tenure to an end after less than seven months.
The Georgian got off to a promising start, leading the yellow-and-blue to the Europa League group stage and picking up 16 of a possible 18 points to start the Premier League season.
But the team lost its way over the past three months, winning just three of 10 league games to fall eight points back of leader Hapoel Beersheba and suffering a disappointing exit from continental competition. Maccabi’s level of performance dropped dramatically and never recovered, and after much deliberation, owner Mitch Goldhar decided a change was required.
“Sometimes, things do not work out the way you plan them whether that be the fault of myself, players or the coach,” sports director Jordi Cruyff told the club’s website. “In situations like that in football it is better to part company and move forward.”
Maccabi will not want to waste much time in bringing in a new coach, with Spaniard Pako Ayestaran, who guided the team to the local treble in 2014/15, already turning down an approach.
Maccabi’s next game is on Saturday against Bnei Lod of the National League in the State Cup round-of-32.
Hapoel Tel Aviv handed a lifeline Hapoel Tel Aviv will live to see another day, but its long-term future remains shrouded in doubt after the Tel Aviv District Court approved on Wednesday the club’s purchase by an ownership group led by brothers Itzik and Sharon Nisanov.
Hapoel was in danger of ceasing to exist had no one stepped up to keep the club afloat until Wednesday’s hearing.
Hapoel’s already dire situation took another turn for the worse last week after trustee Shaul Kotler announced that he hadn’t received any bids for the club. The court approved last month a request for a stay of legal proceedings due to debts estimated at over NIS 100 million.
The trustees were then given two weeks to find a new owner to replace Amir Kabiri.
The trustees only had enough money to operate the club until the end of this week, and may have been ordered to liquidate the club and its assets had the Nisanov group, which also includes businessmen Ze’ev Greenberg and Meir Toshav, not ultimately agreed to take over Hapoel.
Most of the team’s players and head coach Guy Luzon look set to continue under the Nisanov group, which said that its goal is to keep the team in the Premier League this season before selling it to someone with deeper pockets who will guarantee its long-term future.
Hapoel is currently in 10th place, three points above the relegation zone, but is set to be deducted nine points as stipulated by Israel Football Association regulations when a club enters a stay of legal proceedings.