BSL unveils some off-season tweaks

June 7, 2011 07:23

After 5 seasons, the BSL decided to drop the “Russian Rule” instead choosing to allow each team to use no more than four foreigners in a league game.

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SHIMON MIZRAHI is in his 5th decade with Maccabi

Basketball chairman Shimon Mizrahi 311. (photo credit: Adi Avishai)

After five seasons, the BSL decided to drop the “Russian Rule” on Monday, instead choosing to allow each team to use no more than four foreigners in a league game.

Since the 2006/07 season, two Israeli players had to be on court at any given time during a game, a regulation copied from the Russian league in the hope of promoting local players.

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However, the BSL’s directors elected for a change on Monday that will cause coaches far fewer headaches, while still ensuring that Israelis will be given plenty of playing time.

Teams will be allowed to register up to eight foreign players during a season, but will only be able to use any given four in a game.

The directors also voted unanimously to set the minimum budget for a team for next season at NIS 5 million, with 75 percent of it being allocated to the salaries of players and coaches.

The BSL also took a big step towards a closed league, deciding that the last-placed finisher will be able to buy its place back in the top-flight for a set amount, although the winner of the National League will also be allowed to enter the BSL should it meet the minimum budget.

For the time being, the league will still number 10 teams, although Ironi Ashkelon, which lost in the relegation playoffs last season, and Hapoel Tel Aviv, which finished second in the National League, may both still join the BSL for next season should they show they can raise NIS 5 million budgets.

The Final Four format will remain for 2011/12, but the BSL said that it will be reconsidered during the coming season and it is believed that it will likely be scrapped after this campaign.

Monday’s meeting had to be stopped for several minutes after dozens of Maccabi Tel Aviv fans stormed into the board room in protest of the retention of the Final Four format.

Maccbai chairman Shimon Mizrahi calmed the fans and asked them to leave, perhaps comforting them with the knowledge that his team and its supporters are set to get their way in the near future anyway.

“Significant decisions for the future of the BSL were made today,” Mizrahi said. “I think that the most important thing is maintaining stability. Maccabi once more agreed to yield a lot for the unity of the league.”

BSL chairman Avner Kopel was delighted with the new agreement.

“The league is embarking on a new professional and economic road in the hope of increasing its attractiveness and competitiveness,” he said. “I am aware that this plan doesn’t exactly answer all the considerations of each of the directors, but I appreciate their willingness to do what is best for the entire league.”

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