Maccabi Petah Tikva’s hopes of Premier League survival suffered a crushing blow on Monday when the Israel Football Association’s High Court reversed its previous decision and deducted the club three points this season for its involvement in last month’s brawl at the Moshava Stadium.

The High Court initially accepted Petah Tikva’s appeal last week and agreed to delay its point deduction until next season, a decision which was received with outrage and bewilderment by the soccer community.

However, following Friday’s free-for- all between players and officials of National League clubs Hapoel Ramat Gan and Bnei Lod, the IFA appealed to its High Court to hold another hearing regarding Petah Tikva’s punishment so it can set clear guidelines on when to deduct points.

The special five-man panel unanimously overturned last week’s ruling and Petah Tikva dropped six points behind Hapoel Beersheba and safety with just four matches remaining in the season.

“Considering the current circumstances we have determined that a punishment to deduct points should be implemented in the present season and that the team’s position in the standings should not bear any significance on the ruling,” the judges wrote in their verdict.

The IFA disciplinary court will be packed to the rafters on Tuesday when 12 players from Ramat Gan and Lod, as well as Lod’s coach and assistant coach, and both clubs learn their fate for their part in Friday’s scuffle which resulted in the postponement of the weekend’s matches in the top two divisions.

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