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Photo by: Asaf Kliger
Suspensions, deductions for Lod, Ramat Gan
By ALLON SINAI
25/04/2012
Twelve players to miss a total of 59 matches, both brawling National League clubs lose three points.
 
Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod were each deducted three points and had their squads decimated by suspensions on Tuesday following their involvement in last Friday’s infamous on-field brawl.

A violent free-for-all at the end of the National League match between the two teams at Winter Stadium prompted Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon to cancel the rest of the weekend’s league fixtures and on Tuesday the IFA’s disciplinary court severely punished all involved.

Besides seeing their hopes of promotion to the Premier League suffer significantly due to the three-point deduction, Ramat Gan had seven players suspended between three and seven matches, while Lod had five players banned for between two and five games, as well as losing coach Sliman Azabarga for eight months and assistant coach Mustafa Wahidi for five months, not including the offseason.

Despite being singled out as the instigator to the fight by referee Meir Levy, Lod’s Yakir Shina was suspended for just two matches.

His teammates Amer Mansour, Yosef Azabarga, Mohamed Azabarga and Brazilian Heverton Cesar were all handed five-match bans, all to be served in league action.

Ramat Gan’s Adrian Fernandez faces the longest suspension among players after being sentenced to sit out seven matches, while his teammates Lior Asulin and Tamir Ben-Ami will miss six games, with Oz Yifrah, Yogev Ben-Simon and Eliyahu Levy to be out for five encounters and Tal Hen to miss three.

Both clubs, who were also fined NIS 40,000, intend to appeal the rulings.

“We will appeal and if our sentence is not reduced I will shut down the club,” threatened Lod chairman Abu Subhi. “This is a corrupt decision.

This is a disgrace to Israeli soccer and we are only being treated this way because we are an Arab club.”

Following the sentencing, Lod remains in first position in the National League, but now only leads second-placed Maccabi Herzliya on goal difference with three more matches remaining in the season.

Ramat Gan dropped to third, three points behind the top two.

Only the league champion will gain promotion to the top-flight.

A day after the IFA High Court reversed its previous decision and chose to deduct three points from Maccabi Petah Tikva’s total this season rather than the next, owner Amos Luzon announced that he is leaving the club.

A special five-man panel unanimously overturned last week’s ruling against Petah Tikva for its part in an on-field brawl that followed its match against Hapoel Haifa last month, resulting in Petah Tikva dropping six points behind Hapoel Beersheba and safety with just four matches to play in the season.
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