|Soccer fight 370.(Photo by: Asaf Kliger)|
Luzon asks Shahar to head committee
By ALLON SINAI
Israeli soccer looks for next step to emerge from turmoil following rash of on-field brawls.
Israel Football Association chairman Avi Luzon announced on Sunday that he has
approached Maccabi Haifa owner Jacob Shahar asking him to head a committee to
help local soccer climb out of its current crisis.
A violent on-pitch
brawl at the end of Friday’s National League match between Hapoel Ramat Gan and
Bnei Lod prompted Luzon to cancel the rest of the weekend’s league fixtures in
the top two divisions and on Sunday he revealed how he plans to lead Israeli
soccer to better days.
Fighting broke out between players and club
officials of second division leader Lod and its nearest rival Ramat Gan
following the final whistle to a 1- 1 draw between the two teams, which are
battling for a lone promotion spot to the Premier League.
postponing the fixtures, which have been rescheduled for this coming weekend,
Luzon declared Sunday that the former president of the Tel Aviv District Court,
judge Uri Goren, will be the new president of the IFA’s High Court and will be
given a free hand to make reforms in order to increase the public’s trust in the
The IFA chairman is also hoping Shahar accepts his proposal
to set up a committee with the purpose of making recommendations that will lead
to a better future for Israeli soccer.
“I have asked Jacob Shahar to head
a committee of which he will determine the members to bring new and diverse
ideas to improve Israeli soccer and bring the fans back to the stadiums,” Luzon
said in a speech, refusing to take questions from media
“I will ask the committee to make its recommendations of
what needs to be done within 60 days.
"I understand that as IFA chairman
everyone is looking to me, but this isn’t just my battle.
belongs to all the teams, fans and the entire country. We need to unite
to achieve our goal. I guarantee we will achieve it. We will fight the
violence on the way to a better future for us and our children.”
incident at Ramat Gan’s Winter Stadium came less than three weeks after an
on-field brawl between players and officials of Maccabi Petah Tikva and Hapoel
Haifa. Petah Tikva was docked three points for its part in the scuffle, only for
the punishment to be deferred to next season.
However, following Friday’s
fight, 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
It was granted its request on Sunday, with a special five-judge
panel to address the matter on Monday evening.
Referee Meir Levy filed
his report on the brawl on Sunday, calling it the “most violent and disgraceful”
scene he has experienced in his 27 years as a ref.
Levy singled out Ramat
Gan’s Yakir Shina as the instigator and named six Ramat Gan players as well as
three Lod players and Lod coach Sliman Azabarga to have participated in the
All in all, 12 players and Lod’s coach and assistant
coach, as well as both clubs, face a date with the IFA’s disciplinary court on
“In 27 years as an active referee I have never encountered such
a violent and disgraceful scene involving players,” Levy wrote.